Canceling a phone due to be outside of the coverage area is much more difficult than I was led to believe.
Because of my extended leave outside of the country, I went to the AT&T store and asked what was necessary to discontinue service. The response given was not very good. First they told me that due to the discount I was given on the phone when I signed the contract that it was impossible. When I informed them that I was given no discount the store wanted me to give up $175 dollars because they, AT&T, did not make any money when the phone was sold (an Apple iPhone). I pointed out in the contract that it made no reference to what phone I purchased, just that if I lived outside the service area, that the early termination fee would not be charged. At this point I was told that the store would not help me with the cancellation and that I should call customer service.
I called customer service and was basically given the same run around. They gave me many options that would allow me to cancel my service prior to the end of the contract without a fee; A utility bill, a cell phone bill, and many other things that I won't have for at least three months. I mentioned that I wouldn't have any of these things and that having a conversation on an international call to cancel my service was not something that I wanted to do.
Finally I was connected with a guy that told me that if I could send a document on company letterhead explaining that I was offered and accepted a job internationally that I would be released from the contract. He was a really good guy and got my service canceled out sans early termination fee. So as of Feb the 9th, I will no longer be reachable at my home phone number.
If I am given a new number any time soon I will release that to all my friends.