AT&T Next plan will let customers upgrade smartphones or tablets once a year

by: Chris SmithJuly 16, 2013


AT&T on Tuesday unveiled its own upgrade plan for smartphone or tablet buyers, AT&T Next, which will let them upgrade hardware once a year under certain conditions.

The carrier did hint a few days ago that a special announcement was scheduled for July 16, and now AT&T Next is official. The plan will be available to consumers starting with July 26.

Interested buyers will have to purchase a smartphone or tablet “with no down payment and agree to pay [20] monthly installments for the device.” After 12 payments, buyers will have the option of getting a brand new toy. They’ll have to trade-in the old model, and agree to buy the new one under similar conditions.

The carrier says that there won’t be any down payments, upgrade or activation fees with AT&T Next, and there won’t be any interest fees either. Moreover, if users won’t want to upgrade to new devices, they’ll be able to continue paying for their original device choices until they’re paid in full.

As for the per-month cost of the handset, AT&T says buyers can expect installments from $15 to $50. The current Galaxy S4 would cost $32 per month with no down payment, on top of the wireless service plan of the user.

Should users cancel their wireless service with AT&T, they’ll have to pay the remaining balance for their handsets or tablets. A new wireless contract will apparently be signed for 20 months with each new hardware purchase.

The move is most likely a direct response to T-Mobile’s JUMP upgrade plan, which will let users upgrade their handsets twice a year, as long as they’re ready to pay a monthly tax on top of their plan commitment and hardware installments.

But at the same time, AT&T Next will also compete against T-Mobile’s UNcarrier plans that let subscribers purchase new hardware without signing a new contract, although they’ll have to pay for the device in monthly installments after a down payment that varies depending on what device they choose.

Verizon is also rumored to launch a similar hardware upgrade initiative in the coming months.

  • Jacob

    huuuhhh gaayyyyyy

  • S.L Jones

    Wow… I might actually stay with at&t after my contract is up this August… their service is great in the Philadelphia area and I’ve had no problems with them, bill is affordable, for me at least..
    was thinking of switching to t-mobile but their service is spotty in this area… Love them for upping the ante and forcing carriers like at&t and to a lesser extent Verizon (CDMA…ugh) to adjust their plans and compete

    • psybuster

      Who said they were adjusting their plans? Just like buying a phone unsubsidized on at&t now and paying month to month off contract the plan prices still have phone subsidy costs built in. You’re basically going to be double paying for a phone with at&t next.

  • MasterMuffin

    T-Mobile got the bigger boys scared :)

  • Jeff Holdridge

    So when will sprint jump into the action?

  • Vinnie

    So if you keep a top of the line phone for 20 months you will pay $1000 for it plus the full monthly service charges. Doesn’t sound like mmuch of a deal to me.

  • King-Podigy-X

    Cmon Sprint, hurry up and do this.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Everyone in America is starting with this… Now only if south Africa will catch up

  • G Lee

    Is it me or AT&T Is going down hill… This “next” plan is a joke!!!! Why would u pay almost $600 for a $200 phone??? and then it was to be in “good” condition in order to trade it back in ?????

    atleast t-moblie lowered there rates to kinda help the customer and even out the billing ….

    AT&T cant even push out updates in a fashionable amount of time and they want more MONEY????????

    What do the customers get??? Why buy a phone with ATT if we cant get the updates like other carriers?? Cuz ATT working on a “special version for the S3” REALLLYYY???? i am LEAVING ATT when all my contracts are up!!