Here's a refreshing shocker: the industry-standard two-year contract is effectively going away -- at least temporarily. Starting tomorrow, the 91 markets of Alltel that Verizon is required to divest are now offering one-year contracts for all new and renewing customers, but there's no increase in phone pricing -- you'll pay exactly the same amount at the register as if you were signing a two-year deal. The move almost seems like a little "screw you" to whomever ends up acquiring the markets, since those companies will effectively have to deal with the lost revenue -- but on the record, anyhow, the divested trust's main sales guy says that they're "excited about the possibility of joining AT&T." We're not so sure that AT&T feels the same way, but in the meantime, this is a nice little win for customers.

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Alltel steps down to one-year contracts without changing phone prices