AT&T Rolls Out New 'AT&T Next' Smartphone and Tablet Upgrade Program

AttAT&T is following T-Mobile's lead and introducing a new upgrade eligibility program for its customers called 'AT&T Next'. With Next, AT&T customers can purchase a new smartphone or tablet every twelve months with no activation, upgrade or financing fees.

Customers purchase a smartphone or tablet with no money down, making monthly payments equal to 1/20th of the retail cost of the device. After 12 payments, they can trade the device in and upgrade to a new one with no other fees. Or, after 20 payments, they own the device outright.

“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.

For customers purchasing a 16GB iPhone 5, they would pay $32.50 per month for 12 months, and could then upgrade to the latest iPhone -- trading in the previous device. They would pay $390 over that time, with the phone being bought back for the equivalent of $260. If the customer makes the 20 monthly payments, they can upgrade to a new phone and keep the old one.

Because there is no activation or upgrade fee, customers save $36 on activating a new line. Depending on the customer's needs, this may be a better option than the old AT&T upgrade system, which requires customers wait 24 months between fully subsidized upgrades.

AT&T customers who still have grandfathered unlimited data plans are fully eligible to participate in this program.

T-Mobile recently announced a similar upgrade plan, and a leak from Verizon today suggested they also had something like it in development.

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Top Rated Comments

BruiserB Avatar
144 months ago
Sounds good on the surface, but the main disadvantage is that AT&T's service rates are artificially high to pay for phone subsidies. If AT&T doesn't change their rates, then you are kind of paying twice for your phone....once in your rates and again paying 1/20th of the full cost of the phone each month.

Another company has a new creative way to separate people from their money! The best option is to buy outright and go with T-mobile's (or another discount no contract carrier's) plans.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
T.Smith4 Avatar
144 months ago
Rubbish

Garbage program. If they do this they need to lower their rateplans. I hope people don't fall for this crap otherwise this will become the new standard for stealing peoples money.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Frank Gore Avatar
144 months ago
What a sham
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tascon Avatar
144 months ago
Are they lowering the monthly prices?

If I am still paying the same per month, what is my benefit if they don't subsidize the iPhones anymore?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
144 months ago
I don't really see how this is such a bad deal... Like in the example for a 16GB iPhone 5 you would end up paying $390. Provided the phone wasn't destroyed you'd get back $260 - Which equals $130 for the phone. Yeah, AT&T has their flaws but I don't think this is such a bad deal.
The bad deal is that the AT&T rate ALREADY includes the money they need to buy you the iPhone every 2 years. When you sign up for this your monthly rate doesn't go down. So, sure, it's a perfectly good deal except that you are also paying AT&T for half an iPhone every year that you'll never see.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
currahee2100 Avatar
144 months ago
Wait, wait, wait.

Originally the cost of cellular service was justified because the carriers were SUBSIDIZING the cost of the phone to the consumer. The telco would lock you in as a loyal customer, pounding you in the rear for two years (previously 1.75 years) in exchange for selling you a "super expensive phone" that honestly costs half as much than what you are paying for it with your "subsidized" price.

Now to "compete" AT&T is saying, hey- save up your OWN money and you'll get a "new phone upgrade" every year.

$390 + $260 so you can buy the iphone X for "free"- does this make sense? That's $650- THERE IS NO SUBSIDY YOU ARE THROWING YOUR MONEY AT AT&T! Remember we pay a "higher price" in exchange for getting a subsidy. Now this is meaningless.

Wow, AT&T. I don't care that this program is optional. As a consumer I should be allowed to "vote with my dollars". You won't be getting anything from me. This anti-competitive behavior is getting old.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)