Jul 16 AT 9:10 AM Nick Sarafolean 15 Comments

AT&T announces AT&T Next to compete with Verizon and T-Mobile

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Big news from AT&T this morning regarding a new upgrade option available for its customers. A new program called AT&T Next will be launching nationwide on July 26 and will give consumers a new option for upgrading their devices. AT&T Next will allow consumers to upgrade their device once every year if they so choose. This appears to be somewhat similar to what Verizon is offering in their device payment plan.

AT_T_Next

The way AT&T Next works is like this. A customer can purchase a smartphone (not already subsidized as an upgrade) and AT&T will split the full retail cost of the device into twenty monthly payments. But here’s the thing, after twelve months with that device, you can go to AT&T and trade it in for a new device on a monthly payment plan. This won’t cost you anything when you get the device but your payment plan will be reset so that you have twenty months to pay off the new device or you could trade it in at 12 months as well. You also have the option of paying off the device earlier if you would rather choose that road.

As I know that some will be very concerned about this, yes, you can indeed keep your grandfathered unlimited data with this option. AT&T Next is also compatible with any smartphone or tablet on AT&T so you don’t have to worry about your favorite device being left out or anything. A couple of other things that are worth noting are that there is no additional monthly fee for the program outside of your monthly device payment and that it doesn’t replace traditional two-year contracts and their upgrades.

AT&T Next is AT&T’s bid at competing with T-Mobile and Verizon and their new upgrade options. We saw T-Mobile reveal its JUMP! program which is very beneficial for consumers who like to upgrade more often. Verizon has its device payment plan which is simpler than what AT&T offers and Verizon is also rumored to have the VZ Edge program beginning soon. This method is a bit confusing and could be more expensive but if you’re dedicated to AT&T then it could be a nice option.

What are your thoughts on AT&T Next?

Show Press Release
Today, AT&T* introduces what’s next in wireless. Beginning nationwide on July 26, consumers can get a new AT&T smartphone or tablet every year with no down payment, no activation fee, no upgrade fee and no financing fees.**

With AT&T Next, customers purchase a smartphone or tablet with no down payment and agree to pay monthly installments for the device. After 12 payments, they can trade it in and upgrade to a brand new device – again with no down payment – or they can keep using their device and have no more payments after 20 months. AT&T Next is available for new AT&T customers or existing customers who are upgrade eligible.

“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.

AT&T’s 4G LTE network now covers more than 225 million people nationwide and 328 markets. AT&T’s 4G LTE deployment is expected to cover 300 million people by year-end 2014, with nearly 90 percent of the build completed by the end of this year.

The great performance of AT&T’s network continues to be validated by independent third-party testing. AT&T 4G LTE service was recognized as having faster average download and upload speeds than any of our competitors in PCWorld/TechHive’s most recent 20-market speed tests – the second consecutive year that AT&T has ranked first overall. PCWorld/TechHive also ranked AT&T’s as the fastest combination of 3G and 4G services in the 20 cities it tested.*** And AT&T was named America’s fastest 4G LTE network in PC Magazine’s 2013 Fastest Mobile Networks 30-market study – and also swept the top rankings in all six U.S. regions from coast to coast: Northeast, Southeast, North-Central, South-Central, Northwest and Southwest.****

AT&T Next is available for any current smartphone or tablet in AT&T’s industry-leading selection of devices. The interest-free monthly device installments range from $15 to $50, depending on the device selected. For example, a customer purchasing a Samsung Galaxy® S 4 would have no down payment and pay $32 per month, in addition to the monthly wireless service plan they choose, with the option to trade in their device and upgrade after 12 payments or to keep using the device and pay off the installment plan in full after 20 months. There’s no penalty for paying off the installment plan early.

AT&T offers a broad choice of device purchasing options. In addition to AT&T Next, customers continue to have their choice of all current options, including getting a discounted device with a two-year service commitment; paying full retail price for a device with no-commitment; getting a partial discount for an early upgrade after six months with a two-year service commitment; or bringing their own compatible device.

More information is available at www.att.com/next or at any AT&T retail store.

Source: AT&T

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @Zricon15.

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  • Andrew Goodwin

    I think its a good effort, but still how long can they ignore the low prices and no contracts of T-Mobile? I do wonder, has T-Mobile grown since that announcement? Do you believe they will get better coverage because of it? If so then these small changes in Verizon and AT&T won’t be enough right?

    • DMan

      You raise an interesting point. Where i’m from the joke is that it isn’t T-mobile , its “T-Maybe”. Im currently with them now, and when i have coverage its great, but often i lose coverage. Still, the non-contract option is far too promising.

  • redraider133

    Good to see tmo changing the landscape. Hopefully next is no contracts on any carriers and cheaper phones for all, with less power to the carriers.

    • DMan

      you can totally get a no contract phone…at full retail price. Phones take money to make, and certain manufacturers require a minimum price. Everything cant always be cheap and free and awesome.

      • redraider133

        Except the only reason they cost $600 is because of carriers. Phones may cost around $200 to make, and even if they priced them at 400-450 they still would make a profit. Phones don’t cost what you think they do. Apple along with others just jack up prices

        • philli 224

          If you want continued innovation then you must give the developers reason to innovate come on man think about it do you want to go to work and not get paid? it don’t make sense what some of you guys ask for.

          • redraider133

            But like I said they would still be getting paid. I didn’t say price it at nexus pricing they could have a 100-200 markup and still have plenty for profit and to pay. You have just been brainwashed feeling that phones “have” to be 600+

  • Dave Kratter

    Meanwhile, Sprint moved in the opposite direction late last year by no longer allowing 18 month upgrades for certain premium customers. They’re now on a 24 month cycle.

    • DMan

      vote with your dollar. if Sprint does something you don’t like, go somewhere else. Its what I did.

  • Lame Hasselman

    att should start by actually spending some money in improving their network and address reliability issues. Then lowering pricing to better compete with a superior product instead of tacking on administrative fees that should be bourne by them and not the customers, marketing gimmicks such as att next and focus on improving their abysmal customer service.

  • Jorge Vieira

    This actually isn’t that bad I think Verizon and att hit it on the head with the payment plans. Tmobile’s jump is is just to get more money I feel this is actually beneficial to the consumer if it is done wisely…but the initial time you have to pay half of the retail price?

    • jd

      This is actually the ripoff of the century as far as I can tell. You’re already paying a phone subsidy as part of your normal contract plan. Now, instead of *replacing* that subsidy, as T-Mobile does, you get to pay a subsidy + a payment plan for the full price of the device. You’re basically paying for the phone twice. T-Mobile’s also includes insurance, not sure if this one does.

  • Jeff D

    Yikes! This sounds like a plan for people who are bad at math. Here’s my calculations on the cost (I used iPhone because the resale price is more predictable, it’s probably not quite as bad for an Android phone but it’s the same idea):

    If you buy an iPhone on subsidy for $200 you can easily get $350 reselling after 1 year. At that point you would have to some up with another $300 to buy a new iPhone and would have spent $650 total and would own your phone that would then be worth about $350, so you would be out a net $150.

    If you pay $32.50 a month for your iPhone then trade it in to upgrade after 1 year you would have spent $780 and still have $260 to pay on your second phone that is now worth $350, so you would be out a net $690.

    I’m not sure what you think a reasonable interest rate on a loan is, but effectively paying $540 in interest over 2 years instead of outlaying $200 at the beginning of the term then another $300 at the 1 year mark sounds like rip-off to me. If I calculated it right, that is effectively a 78% interest rate.

  • Gee

    Unlocked AT&T iPhones will illegal factory unlock codes from online shops will create problems if you want a new iPhone from AT&T while using another network simcards.. Wondering how this will work out with the new plans

  • donger

    AT&T is gonna make $$$ off this.