The net is gone but there’s still a catch. Mirroring competitors like T-Mobile, the communications giant is ditching traditional contracts in early January. That’s good news for commitment-averse consumers, bad news for “free” hardware fans. Previously, carriers offered a phone at little or no immediate cost, but made up the difference with monthly service fees. Now customers will have to pay full price up front or via installments. Analysts say total expenses won’t change — but it’s unclear if users will upgrade as often once they embrace true phone ownership.