It wasn’t long after T-Mobile introduced its JUMP early upgrade plan that Sprint, Verizon and AT&T followed suite with their own similar monthly installment options. For AT&T, this meant the creation of NEXT, a way to buy your phone off-contract and then pay for it through 20 monthly payments.
While AT&T Next sounds like a cool idea on paper, there’s one problem: you were still paying the same rate as a contract customer would pay.
The reason this is a problem is that the standard contract prices are actually inflated in order to make back money on phones sold at low, subsidized prices. So no-contract AT&T customers were not only paying full price for their handsets, they were also paying the inflated contract rates as well.
The good news is that AT&T is now working to change this, likely as a way to be more competitive against rivals such as T-Mobile. Starting this Sunday, additional savings will be applied to customers that pay full price for handsets, bring their own phone or those that use AT&T Next.
So how much will you actually save? That’s where things get a bit more complicated (ironic I know).
Starting this Sunday, additional savings will be applied to customers that pay full price for handsets, bring their own phone or those that use AT&T Next.
For data, both contract and no-contract customers are seeing newly revised rates. Under the new rates you’ll pay the following: 300MB for $20 a month (no change), 1GB for $45 ($5 MORE than before), 2GB for $55 ($5 MORE than before), 10GB for $100 ($20 less than before), 50GB for $375 ($125 less).
If you think it’s odd that the 1GB and 2GB (the most common data sizes) are more expensive than before, trust me you aren’t alone.
Where the savings really come into play is on the device ‘access’ fee. Previously this price could range from $30 to $50 a month, depending on your data plan. Going forward, AT&T will charge a flat rate of $40 for all contract customers, or just $25 if you’re off contract.
Although it’s nice to see AT&T throwing a $15 no-contract discount our way, it’s still important to point out that T-Mobile’s no-contract plans are still cheaper. For example, a 2GB data plan with unlimited text and voice costs just $60 — that’s $20 less. An unlimited plan at T-Mobile is just $70.
Of course T-Mobile’s cheaper rates only matter if you live in an area with solid T-Mobile coverage. For those that don’t, AT&T’s reduced rate no-contract pricing could still certainly be worth looking into.