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

(View all)
Avatar
88 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)
Avatar
88 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)
Avatar
88 months ago
What a sham
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
88 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)
Avatar
88 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)
Avatar
88 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)

Top Stories

Leaker Claims New 13-inch MacBook Pro Coming as Soon as Next Month

Monday April 6, 2020 2:56 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple will announce a new 13-inch MacBook Pro in May with the codename J223, according to a rumor shared by YouTuber and leaker Jon Prosser. Note: it’s a refresh to the current 13” So the bigger 14” display upgrade is a big possibility— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) April 4, 2020 Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor keyboards ...

'Leaked' Images Allegedly Show iPhone 12 With Smaller Notch, Rear Camera Redesign, and Home Screen Widgets

Tuesday April 7, 2020 4:28 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Two images shared on social media this morning are currently stoking speculation about possible hardware redesigns coming to the iPhone 12 and the potential introduction of Home screen widgets in iOS 14. Shared by Twitter user Fudge (choco_bit), the images depict a front and rear graphical representation of a smartphone with interface elements on the screen, suggesting it came out of a...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1 With Fix for FaceTime Bug

Tuesday April 7, 2020 10:06 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1, minor updates that come two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.4, major updates that introduced iCloud Folder Sharing, a new Mail toolbar, trackpad support for the iPad, and more. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General...

More References to Apple's Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Appear Online

Monday April 6, 2020 4:38 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Further references to Apple's upcoming low-cost iPhone have appeared online, one on a Chinese e-commerce website and another on Verizon's smartphone trade-in page. Spotted by tech blog MySmartPrice, Chinese retailer JD.com has published a placeholder for Apple's so-called "iPhone 9" that includes a teaser image of a veiled smartphone, but other than that it lacks any particularly revealing...

Apple Reportedly Targeting WWDC for Over-Ear Headphones Launch, New 'AirPods X' Later in the Year

Tuesday April 7, 2020 7:00 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Rumors of Apple-branded over-ear headphones have been circulating for quite some time, while more recent rumors have mentioned an "AirPods Pro Lite" that could also be in the works, and Twitter leaker Jon Prosser's recent foray into Apple rumors provides a bit more detail on what we might able to expect for these products. Current Beats Studio3 Wireless and BeatsX On the over-ear side,...

Facebook Launches 'Tuned' Messaging App for Couples

Wednesday April 8, 2020 4:50 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Facebook has quietly released Tuned, a new messaging app designed to provide a "private space" for couples to connect, reports The Information. Designed by NPE, an experimental group within the company that was established last year, the app encourages couples to share messages, notes, cards, voice memos, photos and Spotify songs with each other, thereby creating a "digital scrapbook" of...

Apple Shares Assembly and Use Instructions for New Face Shields, Shipping 1 Million Per Week to Medical Workers

Tuesday April 7, 2020 8:54 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Following this weekend's news from Tim Cook that Apple is working with its supply chain to produce a million face shields per week for medical workers, the company has shared a support document outlining how to assemble and adjust the shields. The document includes a series of images and animations showing how the simple three-piece product can be assembled for either a regular fit or with...

Some Users Experiencing System Crashes on macOS 10.15.4, Especially During Large File Transfers

Monday April 6, 2020 8:17 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
A sizeable number of Mac users are experiencing occasional system crashes after updating to macOS Catalina version 10.15.4, released a few weeks ago. The crashing issue appears to be most prominent when users attempt to make large file transfers. In a forum post, SoftRAID described the issue as a bug and said that it is working with Apple engineers on a fix for macOS 10.15.5, or a...

2020 iPad Pro Confirmed to Lack a U1 Ultra Wideband Chip

Tuesday April 7, 2020 7:52 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Last week, we laid out evidence suggesting that the just-released iPad Pro models do not contain a U1 Ultra Wideband chip, including the lack of any mention of the chip in tech specs or Apple's press materials, the absence of software support for U1 features, and more. Most tellingly, iFixit was unable to find the chip or related antennas in the device. Daring Fireball's John Gruber has follo...

The New York Times, IFTTT, Medium, and Other Apps Adopt Sign in With Apple Ahead of June 30 Deadline

Sunday April 5, 2020 7:08 pm PDT by Frank McShan
Apps with sign-in functionality, including The New York Times, IFTTT, Medium, and more, have continued to adopt Apple's secure Sign in with Apple feature ahead of a deadline of June 30. The deadline for these apps to support the feature was recently extended from April 30. Sign in with Apple, first introduced in iOS 13, allows users to create accounts for apps and websites using an Apple ID. ...