AT&T is in the process of eliminating service contracts and subsidies for its retail partners. But they will still be available at AT&T stores.
Chinese vendor Alcatel OneTouch wants to redefine the term so it doesn't just refer to premium products like Apple's iPhone.
Retailers have been caught secretly offering the iPhone 6 to customers with illegally high subsidies and the Korean government has promised to take action.
The new option, which spreads the payments over a longer period of time, will be available on November 9.
The struggling carrier's monthly phone payment plan and new phone leasing program are starting to gain momentum.
A government cap on carrier subsidies caused a steep decline in phone sales, although there are some signs of recovery as low-cost monthly plans and used phone sales are on the rise.
New regulations from October 1 draw outcry from consumers, carriers and manufacturers as they come into force, making high-end phones far more expensive than in the past.
As the Korean cellular market draws closer to saturation point, the drive to win customers through cheap phone deals has gone off the rails.
Optus cuts handset subsidies and pushes up the price of mobiles, arguing similar moves from Telstra and Vodafone allow it to remain competitive.
In an interview, Michael O'Rielly, one of the two Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission, weighs in on the politically divisive nature of the agency.