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.
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
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.