AT&T today announced that it has eased up on the requirements for its Next plans. The carrier will now allow current AT&T subscribers to enjoy the same Next plans that new subscribers do. The new policy applies to all AT&T subscribers on a two-year service agreement who have been on their plans for at least six months.
Last summer AT&T rolled out its "AT&T Next" service plans, allowing customers to pay off devices over the course of two years and upgrade those devices on a yearly basis. Next was AT&T's answer to T-Mobile's "JUMP!" service plans, which have now transformed how U.S. mobile subscribers pay for their mobile devices.
Since that time, T-Mobile has continued to pressure AT&T in an effort to lure subscribers away. T-Mobile's most direct attack yet came at this year's CES, where CEO John Legere announced that T-Mobile will now pay the early termination fees for subscribers who switch to T-Mobile from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.
Though AT&T had tried to stave off T-Mobile's assault with a similar, but smaller, plan to pay T-Mobile subscribers (and only T-Mobile subscribers) to switch, it's now clear that AT&T is reacting to the changing U.S. mobile landscape.
“We want our customers to have the best smartphones on a high quality, blazing fast, and reliable network, all at a great value,” said David Christopher, CMO for AT&T Mobility. “It’s a win-win - customers get the latest devices with $0 down on the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network with significant savings on their monthly bill when they sign-up for our Mobile Share Value plans.”
It's unclear who that second win in "win-win" is for, though Christopher could mean that AT&T's announcement is a double-win for AT&T subscribers previously stuck on a two-year contract while new customers were enjoying the new Next terms.