For years, wireless carriers made it all but impossible to upgrade your smartphone. Sure, you could pay the full price of the phone, but you could only get those wonderful upgrade subsidizations every two years. Now the wireless carriers are beginning to wise up and offer better upgrade options.
AT&T announced AT&T Next today - a new plan that allows customers to upgrade their phone every year. Like always, there's a catch. The surprising thing, however, is that the catch this time around is pretty reasonable.
Here's how it works - You buy a new smartphone or tablet from AT&T and agree to pay monthly payments on it. After 12 payments, you can either choose to upgrade your phone to a new device at no additional cost, or continue paying off the rest of your current phone. If you choose the former, you will start paying monthly installments on the new phone while the old phone is traded in. If you choose the latter, you will continue paying off the phone for a total of 20 months. After that, you will owe no more payments on your current phone.
“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.
So, what do these monthly payments look like? AT&T isn't offering specifics just yet, but it does say that payments will range from $15 to $50 a month. For example, it says that a Galaxy S4 will cost $32 a month. You can choose to upgrade to a new phone, however, after 12 payments, or continue paying $32 a month for 20 months if you choose to keep it. It should be noted that you can always pay off the device early.
AT&T Next is just the latest plan from wireless carriers that encourages users to upgrade. T-Mobile started the trend last week with its Jump plan. It allows users to upgrade their phones twice a year by paying an extra $20 a month. Verizon is also rumored to be implementing its own upgrade plan called VZ Edge that lets consumers upgrade to a new phone if their current phone is more than 50 percent paid off.
If you're liking the sound of AT&T Next, the carrier says that it will be available to customers on July 26. On that date, new customers and those eligible for upgrades can sign up for AT&T Next.[h/t: DroidLife]