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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.

Top Rated Comments

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82 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.
Rating: 28 Votes
82 months ago

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.
Rating: 19 Votes
82 months ago
What a sham
Rating: 15 Votes
82 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?
Rating: 13 Votes
82 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.
Rating: 11 Votes
82 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.
Rating: 9 Votes
82 months ago

Can someone post a reference to where this is stated? That does not make any sense to pay extra $30.00 without a reduced monthly service plan. I do not even see how AT&T will sell this idea to a customer.

Well show me anywhere that they mentioned that they have new service plans that don't include the subsidy. They have been charging their full plan even after your contract was finished if you never upgraded your phone. And they charge their full plan even if you bring your own phone. Of course it doesn't make any never has, but it's what they can get away with. Now it's time for T-mobile to hit back and highlight the fact that their rate plans are much lower than the major carriers.
Rating: 9 Votes
82 months ago

What a sham

Correct, but the real sham stinks even more... You know how we Americans pay some of the highest cellular rates of the developed world and most Europeans laugh at us?

What does it mean that all the major carriers coincidently revealed strikingly similar upgrade plans within days of each other? This sounds a lot like collusion to me. To recap, they all offer about the same service, with about the same number of "perks", for about the same high price... competition is good, right?

And they get away with this sham without any fear of congressional hearings because they willingly play ball with the NSA, etc., it's their reward for being scumbags. :)

/tinfoil hat
Rating: 7 Votes
82 months ago

I haven't paid money for a phone out of pocket since I bought my first iphone.

iphone's don't lose resale value, hell they are worth more than the subsidized price when you sell it 2 years later.

But you have lost money....because each month of your service you are paying around $20 more than you would have to if your phone wasn't subsidized. So take whatever you paid upfront for your phone, then add $480 to that (the extra amount you paid for it over the 24 months) and then tell me you sold your used phone for more than that total.

This plan basically amounts to a $20 a month rate increase for AT&T.
Rating: 6 Votes
82 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.

If I am reading it right, you wouldn't get anything back. You return the phone which "covers" the part you didn't pay, and you just start on a new payment plan. It's like renting the phone, you never build any equity in it.
Rating: 6 Votes

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