AT&T introduces new ‘AT&T Next’ device upgrade program

By , Jul 16, 2013

AT&T (building logo 001)

Well that didn’t take very long. Just hours after a report surfaced regarding Verizon’s plan for a new device upgrade program, AT&T announced a new upgrade plan of its own. It’s called ‘AT&T Next,’ and its description sounds awfully familiar.

The AT&T Next program will allow subscribers to purchase a new smartphone or tablet every twelve months with no activation, upgrade or financing fees. The catch is, they’ll have to make monthly payments equal to 1/20th the device’s retail cost…

From the press release:

“With AT&T Next, customers purchase a smartphone or tablet with no down payment and agree to pay monthly installments for the device. After 12 payments, they can trade it in and upgrade to a brand new device — again with no down payment — or they can keep using their device and have no more payments after 20 months. AT&T Next is available for new AT&T customers or existing customers who are upgrade eligible.

“With AT&T Next, customers can get the newest smartphone or tablet every year with no down payment. That’s hard to beat, and it’s an incredible value for customers who want the latest and greatest every year,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility.”

It’s hard to say whether this will work out to be a better deal for customers or not. 1/20 the price of a 16GB iPhone 5 would be $32.50, and 12 payments of that equals $390. So essentially AT&T gives you $260 for the 1-year old device—not exactly eBay grade.

But the fact that the new plan will allow subscribers to upgrade every year might be a big enough deal to entice customers. I know that I’ve upgraded to the new iPhone every year since the 3GS came out, so I can definitely see that aspect appealing to gadget lovers.

Oddly enough, like Verizon, AT&T was moving in a completely opposite direction just a few months ago, canceling early upgrades. But it seems the attention T-Mobile has been getting with its ‘Uncarrier’ campaign, and new ‘Jump’ program, caught its attention.

AT&T Next will be available for any current smartphone or tablet in AT&T’s broad selection of devices, and it looks like it is scheduled to kick off on Friday, July 26. The monthly installments are interest-free, and range from $15 to $50, depending on the device.

What do you think about AT&T’s new Next upgrade plan?

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  • Dani Hayes

    Seems like T-Mobile is becoming the new Apple.

  • JeanMarc

    I rather pay it upfront than having a $150 monthly bill. Your looking at around $37 for it a month. This AT&T there is always hidden fees.

  • ap3604

    The ATT video says “no down payment.”

    Does the “no down payment” mean that you don’t have to pay $199 upfront like you would for a normal 2-year iPhone contract?

    • Melvco

      Right, no money due up front. You just have to make the monthly payments.

      • John22

        False, there IS a downpayment, as you must pay high taxes on the FULL RETAIL PRICE of the phone. So if you want the newest iPhone, in say 32GB, you must pay the taxes on a full retail price of $750 phone. That equals to around $50 to $80 in taxes depending on where you live. So yes, there IS a down-payment. Plus, that’s just for the phone! Getting a phone case + screen protector + paying the DOWN-PAYMENT of taxes on full retail price of phone= $100 total downpayment or up-front cost. This is almost a scam.

    • Stephen Michael Simon

      Try reading the damn article they took the time to write and it would all make sense to you. smh

    • John22

      There IS a down-payment and up-front cost. Downpayment was over $60. The AD is FALSE. You must pay the taxes on the FULL RETAIL PRICE OF THE PHONE. So if you want the newest iPhone, you must pay the full taxes on a $700 phone. That’s $50 to $80 in taxes as a downpayment depending on where you live. That’s also just for the phone alone, not including a case, screen protector, or anything else. If you add taxes +screen protector + case it can come out to around $100 downpayment or “up front” cost.

  • KraKsX

    Feels just like a car lease to me. My contract is over this year, and there is no way I’m going back to one. (I still own iPhone: 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, & 5)

  • Justice and Malice

    Att feels more like the blackberry everyday. Decent in many respects, but always late to the party. And even at that, they can’t go all in. Has to be caveats. Thankfully there is plenty of competition out there now days

  • Antzboogie

    Now to see what Sprint does?

    • Justice and Malice

      Sprint should work on a competent network first, then worry about upgrades.

      • Antzboogie

        In my area I have LTE NYC your area must be bad service.

      • Stephen Michael Simon

        Or 70% of the USA?

  • pauleebe

    Tmobile’s deal is still better though. Plus, Tmobile’s plans aren’t ridiculously high, so it’s like AT&T is double dinging you with paying more per device per month and more per rate plan.

  • n0ahcruz3

    In short your monthly payments will skyrocket if you plan on upgrading evry year.

  • Danibal59

    thats like paying an activation fee on every bill! thats crazy

  • Cho

    And I just upgraded to the s4. *sigh

    • Stephen Michael Simon

      Why on Earth would you have done that?

  • jocastro

    grandfathered in goes away or stays?

    • 4p0c4lyps3

      Wondering same thing.

  • steadymobbin

    does this mean you’ll legally be able to jailbreak the device since you wouldn’t technically own it upfront?

    • jocastro

      wow that comment is a FAIL

      • steadymobbin

        clearly you can always jailbreak but im talking about how it would be viewed in the eyes of the court….

  • quitcherbichinn

    at first i thought this was a pretty good option then i read comments on 9to5 and it made me realize 1 thing….the cost of the monthly service is as high as it is because it is meant for the company to recoup the subsidized pricing over your 2 year contract so they made money. so if the phone is no longer subsidized then why is the plan for that still the same cost? for this to REALLY be a decent deal the cost of the monthly service needs to be much cheaper otherwise you are just getting raped all over the place.

    • Al

      The point of this AT&T Next plan is for consumers.. who are desperate and in need of the newest flagship device but are not able to pay upfront cost. That’s exactly what this plan comes down to, which for some people it’s ok to go ahead and just stick there hands in a jar of snakes.. And worry about the ramification afterwards.

      • quitcherbichinn

        i fully get the point of this plan, i’m not daft. the point remains the same that the cost of the plans needs to be adjusted because for those uneducated and not clued in…they are going to be paying essentially twice. AT&T is no longer losing the subsidy money so they don’t need to recoup the subsidy money. not that they will lower the price of the plans, however they should in this instance.

      • Al

        I’m not in no way insulting you. I’m just pointing out how terrible the plan is. I would rather AT&T not even do anything… They are only giving T-Mobile better appeal.

        But you would think they would remove the subsidy, my only complaint with the Next plan is that the consumer is unable to keep the device after 12 months.. they have to trade it in. If they are able to keep the device.. sell it. And continue with Next plan, then I’d say it’s worth it even with the subsidy.

      • quitcherbichinn

        just making sure! =)

        there is just no winning with any of the carriers. they all have us bent over and at their mercy….even TMO. i took my iPhone 5 to Straight Talk but even though it’s $45/month “unlimited” there are enough things about them that drive me crazy that i can’t wait to spend more money just to not deal with them. who needs 10 texts in 1 day, 2 weeks before you need to renew your monthly, to remind you that you need to renew? and when you respond to the text to make it stop, by their instructions, you just get another text from them from another number. that along with the inability to send MMS and the lack of visual voicemail…yeah i’m over it. so even on the “cheap” boat the grass isn’t greener. damned if ya do and damned if ya don’t i suppose.

      • Al

        I’m with AT&T been with them for years, and I’m great T-Mobile is pushing the envelope. Although T-Mobile has a great deal going for them, jus in terms of data and voice service AT&T has been ok to with me.

        T-Mobile is in the position of trying to win customers, while AT&T is in the position of trying to profit from their existing customers. Like I mention before, AT&T is better off not saying anything. I need some clarification T-Mobile throttles too on there unlimited data plan?

      • quitcherbichinn

        i believe TMO does throttle like all the rest. Straight Talk will terminate your service if you stream audio or video…another deal breaker for me. i was on AT&T for years before the iPhone and then with every iPhone model until the 5 came out…there is no LTE for AT&T where i live but there is for VZW so i went with them, then took the phone a few months ago to Straight Talk. as much as i got raped by AT&T, they always had the best customer service and data speed. when the 5s comes out i’ll be back on AT&T.

      • Al

        I know AT&T has been pushing out there LTE coverage for some time now. And steaming audio and video is awesome on there data speeds. Verizon has that shared data plan which I despise, one thing differently AT&T has going for them is they kept there standard plans. But Straight Talk terminate you for streaming… Seriously?

      • quitcherbichinn

        yeah i read it online before i switched over to them but didn’t really believe it…until i switched then read their terms and conditions and it actually says that they can terminate you for streaming and on top of it they throttle you after 2gb. so i saved some money for a few months and it was nice but not worth it in the long run. the next text they send me i may have to take the phone to Walmart and shove it up an employee’s ass. but yeah…still no LTE in my area from AT&T but it’s close and i figure it has to get here in the next 6 months.

      • Al

        Yeah, that plan is not data friendly. Carriers are transitioning well into where the real money is at and it’s in the data service. Sprint boast about not throttling, but my sister speeds are terrible and I heard many others complain about their speeds. Carriers make it difficult to find a middle ground. But I wish you well… Hopefully AT&T will arrive sooner than later.

      • quitcherbichinn

        HSPA+ is where i am so it’s not too bad. i used to work at Sprint and yeah their speed and service is a bit less than stellar.

    • Curtis Bost

      If you Trade it in after a year they are still subsidizing some and your are still financing it with no down payment and no interest, of course they are not dropping plan prices. they still need to make money. and being able to upgrade with out paying off plan prices or for an unlocked phone is still a good deal.

      • quitcherbichinn

        it’s a horrible plan. do the math, run the numbers…you’ll see. there is even an article on this blog that compares and illustrates how bad you are getting screwed over and even the author of the article states this is a horrible plan. but hey…if it works for you then jump on board. i’ll be skipping this plan.

  • Kurt

    What do the carriers plan on doing with all these phones that are traded in?

    • Al

      Sell them as refurbished. Or give them to customers who ruined there phone and in need of a replacement such as the customers who pay insurance for their phones..

      • Kurt

        Think you’re right! Forgot about the insurance plans.

    • n0ahcruz3

      Like Al said, or sell them to the third world countries for higher profit lol.

      • Kurt

        haha, that’s a possibility

      • JL

        Who cares?? Lol

  • dontcare

    Lol suckers

  • dontcare

    720 00 cancelation 30 to 50 bucks a month more? This is a deal? Lol yeah suckers…