AT&T introduces yearly upgrade program for new smartphones, dubbed 'AT&T Next'

Just last week, T-Mobile dropped another bomb on the mobile phone industry by announcing their JUMP! program, allowing consumers to upgrade twice a year (after an initial six month wait), with no upgrade fees or contracts.

Now it’s AT&T’s turn, who just announced 'AT&T Next', their yearly device upgrade program for smartphones or tablets. Unlike today, when you opt for the yearly upgrade using Next there will be “no down payment, no activation fee, no upgrade fee and no financing fees”.

So how does it work? It’s similar to the T-Mobile model in that you agree to pay a monthly installment on the phone, which can range from $15 up to $50, depending on the device (the Galaxy S4 is cited as an example at $32 a month). After 12 payments, users can upgrade to a new device with no down payment or they can continue to pay off their device for another 8 months (for 20 in total).

Will this be a hit? Does it give consumers more freedom? We’re not too sure yet, but we like to see change in the mobile industry and believe we’re ripe for an overhaul of current practices.

Anyone now reconsidering a Lumia 1020 purchase instead of waiting? Sound off in comments.

Read the full press release below.

Source: AT&T Press Release (opens in new tab)


No Down Payment, No Upgrade or Activation Fees, and All On The Nation’s Fastest 4G LTE Network

AT&T 4G LTE Now Covers More than 225 Million People

DALLAS, JULY 16, 2013 — 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 or at any AT&T retail store

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Well it looks like I'll actually be able to get my Lumia 1020 after all
  • L1020, here I come.
  • Don't fall for it!  This is snake oil unless I am missing something.
    You need to keep in mind that they are not reducing your plan price and then breaking out the cost of the phone, so all they are doing in charging you more.  It's basically just rent-to-own, so you might as well just take out a low interest loan to buy your phone outright.
  • Why have low interest, when you can have no interest? That doesn't make sense.
  • He is right. It looks like they are charging the full price of the phone over 20 months and worst yet, they are not lowering your monthly bill. It's just like the shared family plans and the unlimited voice and text plans. They ask you out for a date and then rape you for two years.
  • That's exactly right.  It's amazing how much ATT wants to screw you.  If you buy an s4 wih a traditional plan you pay 199 and your monthly bill of say 120.00.  If you choose this option, you still pay 120 per month and then PAY FOR THE PHONE SEPARATELY also. ATT is effectively charging you twice for the same phone.  Shameful
  • That's what you do when you buy a phone a subsidy any ways. You are essentially buying the phone on a loan, but that installment fee is incorporated in your bill. So basically by the time your contract is up, you have paid off your phone and then some. The only thing this is doing is allowing you to speed up the process by paying it off sooner and getting a new phone sooner.
  • The only thing this is doing is allowing you to speed up the process by paying it off sooner and getting a new phone sooner.
    But that's not what this is doing. This is double-charging. When you buy a subsidized phone, you pay for a portion of the phone up front and the rest of the phone price is "hidden" in your monthly bill. Let's call that $450/20 months = $22.50 of your monthly bill that goes towards paying off your phone. Of course that doesn't go away if you pay full retail price for your phone or if you bring your own device, but that just means you're getting screwed on both of those options. With NEXT pricing, you still pay that $22.50/month of subsidy, but you also get to pay $Price_of_phone/20m as well. So a $650 phone will cost you not $32.5/mo, but $55/mo. After 12 months, you will have paid not $390, but $660. That's more than the original cost of the phone, AND you don't get to keep that phone when you upgrade (the wording is "trade in" your phone). If you decide to fully pay off the phone over 20 months, you'll have paid $1100 for a $650 device. The only way this NEXT pricing works is if AT&T reduces their non-contract plan pricing commensurately.
  • Well the press release leaves a lot open to interpretation.  No one can say for certain that the plan pricing for someone using NEXT will be the same as it is for someone not using NEXT.  It doesn't say one way or the other in the press release.
  • Given that you don't get a plan discount when you pay full retail or BYOD or you complete your contract, it's pretty safe to assume that NEXT will also not have a plan discount. I hope you're wrong.  I really do. I would love to take advantage of this program because smartphones have gone to a 6-12 mo refresh cycle and I hate having to sell my old phone. But it's just not economically viable if they still charge high contract plan prices designed to cover subsidized phone prices when they're no longer actually subsidizing the phone. he press release is also missing details about the phone trade-in process. Are they going to treat it like a car lease turn-in, where any damage or repairs are your responsibility or you get charged? If so, screen protectors and cases are going to be mandatory, and I hate clunking up my phone with that stuff. I prefer to run nude, but if I'm going to get charged for normal wear and tear scuffs then it's again not worth it.
  • Yeah, we definitely need more details to make a good decision, but it definitely needs lower priced plans even for the people that upgrade every 12 months. Using the new 1020 as an example, on the current plan a person pays $300 up front plus a $35 upgrade fee.  So let's assume you sell the phone after 12 months for $300.  You buy a similar phone off-contract for $700, and you repeat the same thing in 2 years.  Your 2 year cost of ownership is $435 On the new Next plan, you pay $35 per month for the first 12 months.  You trade it in after 12 months and purchase a similar phone that costs $35 per month for the next 12 months.  Let's assume there are no penalties from the trade-in as a result of scratches etc and the device is in good condition.  The 2 year cost of ownership is now $840.  That's a pretty hefty premium for the convenience of not having to sell your phone.
  • The 2 year cost of ownership is now $840. That's a pretty hefty premium for the convenience of not having to sell your phone.
    But now factor in the subsidies. Scenario 1, subsidized phone with a full price mid-year replacement. The full subsidy of the first phone must be paid off: $300 + $22.5*24 + $700 - $300 = $1240 Scenario 1a, subsidized phone with a $250 early upgrade fee mid-year and sale of old phone: $300 + $22.5*24 + 250 + 300 - 300 = $1090 Scenario 2, NEXT phone lease, with extra subsidy: $35*24 + $22.5*24 = $1380 Scenario 2a, NEXT phone lease without extra subsidy (what AT&T *should* do): $35*24 = $840 Scenario 3, full retail purchase while still paying for subsidy and sale of old phone: $700*2 + $22.5*24 - $300 = $1640 Scenario 3a, full retail purchase without extra subsidy: $700*2 - $300 = $1100 Scenario 3b, where full retail purchase becomes the norm and market forces cause sellers to compete on price, thus causing actual prices to fall below MSRP such that a $700 MSRP phone would actually be more like $550: $550*2 - $300 = $800 3b is the best monetarily, followed by 2a. Both assume AT&T will do the right thing with respect to dropping subsidies when they're not actually subsidizing phones. Failing that, your next best option is to talk a rep into letting you do an early upgrade for a fee.
  • Next is 20 months, not 2 years....
  • Correct.  You're basically giving away your subsidy using this NEXT plan unless I'm missing something here. Damn, T-Mobile... increase your coverage map already... I want to switch, but I also need to make phone calls from my place.
  • Right on. I am more interested in coverage for where I am rather than purchase/lease/rent a new phone when mine is working fine. I am not rich by any means nor do I call psychic  hotlines at the measley price of $120/hr. Coverage is all important. What good is a phone that will scratch where you itch if you can't use it for its intended purpose...making phone calls?
  • if I understand this correctly, T-Mobile still offer's the better deal (cost wise at least).
    Though, if AT&T let' s you keep the first phone, that would be a different story (AFAIK, for the T-Mobile one you have to trade your phone back in to get a new one every 6 months)... 
    But then again, T-Mobile likely won't get there Lumia 1020 equivilent tell next year. 
  • Yeah, you can only keep it after the 20th payment then it is yours. They're hoping to lure you in that 12th payment to continually make payments to a phone that you won't be keeping.
  • I guess it just boils down to which service and infrastructure is much more reliable. I think AT&T is ahead of T-mobile in this arena. I am still getting drop calls from T-mobile even driving in a major highway.
  • Basically what AT&T has down here is turned this into a car purchase format where you can buy the phone over a length of a term or just lease the phone and return it back after a year.  If someone wants to constantly upgrade for the newest phone, they can just lease (rent) them and return them every year.  Others may choose to keep the phone so they have to pay in full before upgrading.
  • Might consider the 1020 then. Was going to wait for the next generation but hmmmm....
  • The final frontier
  • To boldly go where no man has gone before
  • Tea, Earl Grey, hot
  • Who's with meh???!!!???
  • edit: 32$ on top of the subsidized costs of the phone?  is that right?
  • That's my understanding of how this works. AT&T already includes your subsidised pricing in your monthly payments, so by adding this you'd actually be paying for your phone twice. Unless they lower their monthly plans, but they conveniently haven't said anything about that.
  • Yea just seems like more screwing over people and taking more money
  • Whatever AT&T does it does so with the hopes of making more money from its subscribers.  That's what companies do.  This ain't socialism.
  • +1 It's called a successful business model
  • So are drug cartels.
  • It's called not enough good competition.
  • "That's my understanding of how this works. AT&T already includes your subsidised pricing in your monthly payments, so by adding this you'd actually be paying for your phone twice. "
    Well, yes and no. I buy a lot of my AT&T phones full price + no contract. Guess what? AT&T doesn't' reduce my monthly bill either, so I mean, where's the outrage over that?
  • Exactly the point. You SHOULD be outraged by that... but then again it is all part of your job. The average Joe out there will simply get an unlocked device and a cheaper service if they are going to pay full price for their hardware up front in the first place. That was our plan originally, and then we did the math on the total price paid on ATT vs TMo for our 920s only to shockingly find we would only pay ~$100 extra over a 2 year period with ATT ($25/person/year). For that $100 we got higher end phones, and (at least in our area) better cell service than what was available with TMo. When our contract is up the plan will be to move to TMo at that point unless ATT has a similar offering to what they had with the 920.
  • I couldn't agree more with you. I keep saying to everyone I have half a mind to reward TMo with my business because I respect their newly adopted business model so much. The problem is, everywhere in my life TMo has abysmal cell service so I can't actually put my money where my mouth is. But I can't emphasize enough how much I'd prefer to buy my phone flat out and have a greatly reduced monthly bill. Problem is most ppl see "free phone" (w/ 2 yr serv) and jump on w/o questions. I get mad at my friends who even jump on that because effectively you're locking in without any perks at all. If your phone company uses a subsidized program, you might as well go for the phone you want because they're locking you in one way or the other. 
  • I don't plan on changing carriers. If I buy mu phone out right, I don't get a cheaper plan. So why should I pay more upfront for the phone I want instead of saving money now?
  • My point exactly. And the new AT&T upgrade plan seems like the exact opposite I want. I want to LOWER my monthly pmt.... and I know thats the last thing they want so we're at an inpass
  • God t-mo's business model sucks! It's like everyone drank the punch at that press conference. T-mo now charges full price for a phone, which you can pay over 20 months. You can upgrade early, big deal, you still have to pay off the old phone. If you cancel, you have to pay off the balance, which can be substantially hi depending on when you canceled. And what about their billing? For a comparable plan that I have with AT&T would be 80$ plus the 20 or so for that smart phone. Which is pretty darn close to what I pay at&t. Where is all those savings that everyone is crowing about? And when you consider how crappy t-mo's service can be, I'm content to stay right where I am at. I don't need a new phone every 6 months. T-mo hopes that you don't look too closely to their plan, the only benefit fit to it is you can walk away at any time, but it still isn't penalty free.
  • Generally speaking the way it becomes cheaper is you can buy a cheaper phone, or use a phone longer, maybe 3 years instead of 2 year upgrade cycle, therby getting a full year or so of a lower bill. Or buy a Nexus 4 for $300, or one of the less expensive lumia models and you'll have a solid phone, out of contract and pretty inexpensive overall.
    The goal is to get customers shopping phones on their actual price and not the subsidized price. Because right now you basically have huge tiers in $50 increments up to $300 which really ensures iPhone dominance actually. The logic people use is iPhone for $200, why risk on anything else for the same price?
  • Um, no? With JU⬆MP you return the phone when you upgrade (unless its paid off), and the service doubles as Insurance as well. And if you cancel, you pay off the old phone because they are not just going to give the phone away for free. Not to mention, Jump is a flat rate of $10 while Next's cost varies by device and can be as high as $50. So you have multiple benefits. Not just one. Also, im assuming you have 2 lines with around 500MB data (or something approx.) with ATT, which is where that cost comes from. The savings, btw, are in the long run, something fewer Americans consider. Lets say, random number, ATT is $10 more per month. Multiply that by 12 months, and thats $120. That number is even bigger if one is on ATT longer than 2 Years. T-Mobile has a better business model because they are upfront about what things cost. They say the phone cost $$$, but you can finance it for $$/mo. They dont have hidden fees (i went halfway through signing up to ATT to see the cost and there was a high monthly service charge added on top of the monthly cost of the plan, and they recently added a small hidden administration charge a few months back according to the verge.) and then say that iPhone 4 is free. Not to mention ATT's plan cost the same, no matter if you have a 1020 or Nokia "brick", while cheaper phones yield a cheaper cost on T-Mobile. Also, T-Mobile may have bad service, but its not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Its the Internet Explorer effect. It used to be god awful, but now, even though its not great, its much better than it was, but its still treated as if it was still god awful. I mean, 3 - 4 years ago you could barely get signal only if you stood on one side of my house (im in the country) and most everywhere was poor signal, but now? i get 3 - 5 bars of 2G out here and in the small town 5 minutes away. And if i go to the city 20 minutes out, i get 4G with my Lumia 521. Furthermore, signal also has to do with device. Some devices, including ones sold by T-Mobile, have less frequency support than the full spectrum T-Mobile uses. So where you're at, for example, 3G/4G could be broadcasted at 1700MHz, but your phone may only support 3G/4G on the 2100MHz band. So even though they have better service there, your phone in this hypothetical scenario would only get 2G, and possibly poor signal at that. This is doubly true for unlocked ATT phones on T-Mobile.
  • That isn't even a benefit, because you can walk away anytime with AT&T as well. Every AT&T contract has a buy out cost. The further you are into the contract, the lower the buy out is. My buy out is $80 right now with ~6 months remaining on my 2 year contract.
  • Tmo has excellent service on the east coast of the US if you are near any sort of population center. I'll lose 4G if I'm on the highway traveling between major cities in the country but I'll still get calling/SMS service. Near any city, suburb or signifigantly sized town I get much better 4G service than any other carrier.
    That's an acceptable cost when WiFi is more prevalent now than ever and I'm paying LITERALLY 4X less per month than AT&T could do for me on a similar plan.
    That's Tmo's caveat - their service is perfectly fine in population centers but you'll have trouble once you hit the road. Works fine for me, I can't ask for any more when I pay only $30/mo for unlimited data+texting+100min
  • That's true. No one does complain about that and that's why there's no incentive for AT&T to offer a lower monthly rate for bringing your own phone. Personally that's why when I was with AT&T I never bought my phones outright.
  • Lot's of people complain but to what end? Carriers are going to loose massive revenues because people complain? There are only two major carriers who both have the same model and a handful of minor ones with spotty coverage and phones that are marginally less. Where else are you going to take your business? It's basically a monopoly and they have no real incentive to change. Only the FCC can make them and guess what? Yep. The head of the FCC is in bed with them.
  • If you paid full price for a phone, and you pay same price as me on a 2 year contract, you are doing it wrong.
  • Try paying less with ATT on a full priced phone. I'm not.talking one of their MVNO's but regular ATT. They don't differentiate between the two.
  • FINALLY! Thanks for bringing that up, Daniel. I've never fully understood the whole "subsidized" outrage because no matter whether I buy my phone via an upgrade discount or outside of AT&T, my line remains at the advertised price. If the argument rests on getting a subsidized phone through AT&T and paying more for everything versus a prepaid or bring-your-own "lower cost" plans at T-Mobile, then it's a completely different issue (i.e. it becomes a preference about the carrier).
    Can someone please explain how I would pay less with AT&T if I don't upgrade via a contract extension discount?
  • You don't pay less if you don't take a discount on a phone but I think the point people are trying to make is that you should pay less for your plan if you're not getting any discount on your phone.
  • In all honesty, I don't think most Americans would like it to be set up differently. We are use to the prices we pay and we don't have to pay full price for the phones.
  • Ditto
  • Daniel, does AT&T unlock exclusives (Lumia 1020) that are bought off-contract? With this change would see a change in their current unlock policy?
  • No. Not until at least 6 months. AT&T has followed suit with the last two exclusives--the Lumia 900 and 920. The 1020 will be no different if you buy off contract since nothing has changed.
    Bummer, right?
  • That seems like a silly decision. You may avoid a contract, but it's an expensive route. I started buying my own phones when T-Mobile started offering lower cost plans, and now I have an AT&T phone but use an MVNO and pay less then $40/mo on average for unlimited everything.
  • C'mon. Just because you choose to pay for your phones twice doesn't mean you should have to do so. This new plan is what your current plan should be. And all their monthly plans should have a BYOD discount.
  • So, why buy off contract? Get the $300-$350 subsidy. Buying off contract only makes sense if you can get a cheaper plan that will offset the large initial payment.
  • Exactly my thinking, with my current mobile share plan, i pay like $56/monthly (tax included), and I bought the 920 for $99.99, why the hell would I pay the full price, if I need to pay the same amount every month? It only makes sense if you got a $25/mon plan, and you can save $30*24=$720 comparing to the original plan. Then, i'll buy a high-end phone off contract.
  • From what I'm getting at, you don't spend anything in-store, and just add an extra $32 a month for 12 months, then after that, either trade it in, or keep paying the $32 until the phone is paid off.
  • But why pay extra without lowering the rates of current plans does not make any sense. Its exactly paying twice for the device. For example; either I am on NEXT or not, I will pay the same charges for my wireless plan, no matter what. If I don't choose NEXT, I pay downpayment for the device and sign a 2 year contract that's it and device is mine after 24 months. Now if I choose NEXT I will still be paying the same amt for wireless plan, additional per month fee for NEXT...agree no downpayment but for Lumia if you can wait for a month or so you basically don't even have to pay downpayment. I got L920 for free.
    Yeah, I think this is for those who wants to lease device instead of owning one and really enthusiastic getting new device every year:)
  • Right, but already included in your monthly bill is part of the subsidizing for your current phone which you only paid about $100 for in store (if you have something similar to a 920)
  • But doesn't that also apply for anyone buying a phone off-contract on AT&T at anytime?
  • I'm not from the US but my understanding is if you bought the phone outright you wouldn't go on one of their 24 month plans, but go to a prepaid plan for $35 or less, which seem to offer the same thing as the 24 month plans.
  • Unfortunately that's not how it works in the US you pay the same price for your service regardless of whether or not you bring a device with you. The gophone plans end up being as much or more then a normal plan
  • Ah yeah, on closer inspection it is too good to be true, seems all the messaging plans only have unlimited data for very limited things, thus not unlimited
  • Unless your are on T-Mobile.
  • But then T-Mobile throttles your data after 2.5 gigs so there's that trade off
  • If that's the data package you choose.. We also offer truly unlimited as well.
  • If you're on a contract with AT&T you are ALREADY paying this same amount of money for that subsidized phone you get every 2 years. So get a new phone every 2 years, and if you 'must' get a new phone every year just buy it full freight wherever you can get the best price. If you do that here's what happens: You start your contract- you get a 'free' phone. A year later you buy a new one for, say $600, sell the previous one for ~$200. Then after another year you get a new phone form AT&T for 'free'. Three new phones in a span of 2 years for a net cost of your Plan+$400. If you use the new deal from AT&T, that new phone in the middle will cost you 24 x $30 (not sure exactly what that number will be for a new Lumia Hero phone) = $720. Remember, you wont have the first phone to sell if you have to turn it in when you get the new phone at 12 months. So it will net as costing almost double the price if you just replace the phone yourself at 12 months. Might be a bit less - I've had to make some assumptions here, - but you'd have to make up some pretty crazy scenarios to have AT&T's new 'deal' make it to be a break even scenario.
  • I believe the difference between buying a phone outright vs subsidized is that buying outright doesn't bind you to a monthly data plan whereas the subsidized model mandates that you have a data plan. Of course, who would buy a smartphone without a data plan anyway? Well, some people actually do and choose to only use WiFi.
  • Sounds like a lot of money when it adds up. With att the average cost on having a smartphone is about $90 plus the tax which is about $20 now an additional $35 which is going to raise the tax. By the end of it all at the end of the month I might end up paying close to $150 or even $160. That's a lot of money a month to pay for mobile service.
  • Exactly! My monthly bill right now on ATT is $106 and some change. The 1020 will probaly be around 40 or even max out at $50 installments so after taxes and all that, Ill be paying around $170 or $175!! Naahh, I'm good.... 
  • I have unlimited everything with T-Mobile (yeah, coverage isnt the greatest) and my bill is running around $99 per month with taxes, fees, handling, postage, stocking, restocking and any other charges. That's it. $99/month. No upgrade plans in my near future, this one works just fine (Lumia 810), which was including when I started with T-Mob, plus no charge activation and a $50 gift card a month after I signed up. Fortunately work pays for $93 of that bill so I spend $6 for my plan. Almost free as I can find that much money in the street each month.
  • Well, who said having the latest and greatest phone should be free? Its just like cars... You can pay more to lease the newest model and always have a car payment, or buy a car and have no car payments after you have paid it off.
  • Well the difference is that once you've paid the bank the cost of your car they don't go on billing you Tue same amongst nt every month. The Bank of AT&T does!
  • If you buy a phone off contract you pay full price of the phone plus fees plus full price for a monthly plan. With next you still pay full price for the phone and monthly service but no fees and you don't have to pay up front cost for the phone. Sounds ok to me
  • I love how it debuts when the 1020 does and it is featured prominently in the video!
  • im surpirsied that they enen had a PLAN ready, like they all were ready to make this deal....doesnt it takes months to think something like this out, then BAM!! hey we got a plan just live TM...???? smh
  • Now its Verizon's turn. Here's hoping for the continuation of this deal.
  • I guess you didnt see the Verizon document that leaked earlier today? They are starting this also, it was mid or late aug.
  • I read where Verizon is coming out with their own plan according to
  • I don't think this is a deal at all.
    You have the same cellular/data plan and you basically pay full price for the phone.
    For instance, using their example, a S4 is $32 a month. That's $384 plus taxes after 12 months when you are eligible to get a new phone or if you elect to pay it off over 20 months, it's $640.
    It doesn't sound like a deal to me.
  • Math FTW
  • Most of these phones cost around $600 out of contract.
  • So? You pay $200+activation+taxes+etc to get the phone anyways on a contract. Lets assume it adds up to $250 to get the phone on contract. Add $384 + taxes to 250 and you get around $634 AKA with this plan, you literally are buying the phone outright in the end, but not really because you are still locked into a contract and you are still paying your $80/mo subsidized plan that is meant to pay off the phone in the first place. It's a collosal waste of money. If you want to get a new phone every year, buy it off-contract for $600 or so and simply do that. It's cheaper in the long run, you aren't on contract, and you can swap out to a new phone and sell off your old one for a decent value. Though this works better with other carriers like Tmo, where off-contract price for unlimited everything and 100 minutes is $30/mo, not with AT&T who has the same off-contract plan prices as they do on-contract (which is part of the reason why AT&T are a huge, MASSIVE waste of your money).
  • 1020 in November here I come!!!
  • I'm due for an upgrade in Nov too but I'm going to try on and get it on July 26
  • hopefully come November there will be a quad core (or at least faster duel core) processor and 1080p screen device with GDR3 and the 41MP camera. I obviously have not seen a 1020 in person, but the videos online seem to show sluggish response with the camera due to the constraints of the CPU, and a slightly larger display with higher resolution would be better for viewing those beautiful photos.
  • And being patient for a couple months will probably save us November upgraders a good deal on the $299 - or give us an even newer version, maybe by that time without the bump? The 1020 is very nice, but losing the bump would be a welcome improvement, IMO.
  • Loosing the bump would mean you loose the camera or inflate the entire device...
  • Can those of us in a contract take advantage of this program? I used a contract upgrade for my Lumia 920, and was considering purchasing the 1020 but this might seal the deal if I can sign up for this "Next" stuff (depends on the monthly rate)... Also, does the monthly rate decline over the life of the device? For example, if you pay the monthly rate for 20 months, and assume the Lumia 1020 is $50/month then that's $1000 if the rate is constant. It might still make sense to buy it off contract for me.
  • Read the article.
    No you have to wait until you are upgrade eligible.
  • I did read the article... I'm wondering if the interpretation was correct... Maybe it's just me being hopeful but I don't see why AT&T would be losing much by allowing people to start paying more, especially since it seems you are actually paying more than the current value of the device over the 20 months.
  • It is you who would be taken advantage of with this "deal" I'm afraid.
  • Yeah... That's what I realized... Looks like if I decide to buy it, it will be off contract for me again.
  • Considering your already basically paying for a $450 subsidy on most phones within your plan, AT&T letting you buy another phone off-contract makes it seem so wonderful, yet your really paying even MORE money than necessary. 
    Until AT&T and Verizon decouple the subsidy you get with a new phone from the monthly service cost, any plan they makeup is designed to screw with your wallet. Avoid like the plague. 
  • Ditto this, people suck at math....
  • I think people suck at having the up-front money in their pocket. :)
  • This is more like leasing a car than buying one. It's not a bad deal, though perhaps not for everyone.
  • Daniel, when you do the math, it's a terrible deal. The key point here is that regardless of whether you get a phone with a subsidy or buy your phone outright, with AT&T, you are always PAYING for that subsidy. There is no discount to your service for buying a phone outright or on an installment plan. 
    As such, this plan is truly greedy in that you end up paying for 2 phones but only getting one. Avoid. 
  • Yeah, that's the part I don't like about this compared to the T-Mobile plan too.  They should deduct a phone subsidy from your monthly payment or something, although I'm sure they won't because I bet they won't even admit that there is such a subsidy in the first place.  This is why I switched to prepaid and started buying my phones off-contract.
  • I disagree. I think it's a solid option if you just bought a Lumia 920 ($99 on contract) and want to get the Lumia 1020.  You can now presumably trade in your 920 for a 1020 with no downpayment and pay $33 a month for either 12 months (then upgrade) or pay it off in 20 and it's yours. How is that bad? There's no downpayment on the new device, no finance charges and you don't have to extend your contract, I assume.
  • They said that you have to reset the timer to 0 if you upgrade, meaning the 920 and 1020 would take 3 years to pay off combined. That would be $1,188 between the two. Right now, if you got the 920 on-contract, then the 1020 off-contract, it would be $100 for the 920 and $700 for the 1020, or $800 for both. That, or you could get the 920 off-contract for $450 and the 1020 on-contract upon its release for $300, and you'd get to keep BOTH phones for $750. Avoiding a down payment isn't worth and extra $400+ and sacrificing one phone (which you could probably sell the 920 for $200 after a year, bringing the total cost into the $550-600 range), in my opinion.
  • Right, which is why this is but one option for people. I have a ton of phones and I never sell 'em...I don't' do Craigslist and can't be bothered with eBay. The idea of walking into AT&T, slapping the phone on the counter and getting a new device that day with no down payment can be appealing for some. Is it a "deal"? No, of course not. It's capitalism--you pay AT&T money for a service and that's what they're doing here. It's like financing a car vs buying one. One is a better deal but it doesn't mean it's what everyone wants.
  • Yeah, I get that. I guess what I should put on the (virtual) page is that I get the IDEA here. I think it's a good one, too--pay a bit more for faster upgrades. However, who wants to finance a car at 92% interest? The intent is good, but the deal itself is outrageous. If we were talking about a smaller cost (maybe $20, making the 20-month cost $400, not $640), then it would be a program in which the customer gets a nice service for a reasonable price, but that's not the case here. A 92% price hike (which is what this amounts to in ONE year) is just too steep to make it sensible.
    In essence, this is for those with large amounts of spare cash who are uninterested in making money back through third-party resale sites, as you mentioned you are.
  • I'm sure there would be a ton of people who would love to get your hami-down phones after you tested them. You could do mini contests after reviews. Get rid of those old phones, make new WPcentral fans, and make some people very happy. 
  • The article says that we have to be "upgrade eligible" meaning that no one with a 920 will qualify until the 2 year contract is over, right?  They eliminated the 20th month upgrade.
  • Nobody with a 900 will even qualify.
  • The bottom of the article states that customer still have to the option to "upgrade early" by paying a partial discount after six months.  But when I spoke to AT&T last night, no one seems to believe this is still an option.
  • Exactly what I was thinking. Paying a monthly fee for the phone on top of the $300 initial cost of the 1020? I guess carriers in the US can get away with it since, apparently, most of the population have trouble with basic math (also judging from some comments here). All most people appear to see is one phone each year and they are sold regardless of the long term costs.
  • It says "no down payment", I take that to mean no $300 initial payment if you buy a 1020 on this plan.  Just 20 installments of $X and it's yours, or you can trade it in for a different phone after 12 payments.
  • This.
  • Thanks for saying this. I think most are thinking you pay the subsidy and then the monthly payments. I'm not reading it that way. Either way, there's still a break-even point between buying subsidized phone and paying off the termination fee versus this program so it'll still be something people should weigh.
  • You are paying double the subsidy effectively and therefore, will be able to upgrade earlier. Essentially, you are paying for the convenience to get a new phone every year. It'll be costlier if you persist with the device for 2 years as compared to a standard subsidy but we all know, that's not going to happen. This is aimed at milking money from people by giving them what they want. If you want a new phone every year and don't want to pay $300, this is your best bet. Yes, obviously it is pricier but so is financing a car as opposed to buying it outright. Everyone wins. Good to have the option.
  • Agreed.
  • This is a horrible plan no matter which way you slice it. The monthly fee for AT&T includes money which will be used to subsidize your phone. That's why you get phones for $400 off.
    With this new plan you have to give up the subsidy and pay the same monthly fee for the plan. Then you tack on ANOTHER monthly fee for the phone. So now you're not taking any subsidy and instead paying full retail for your phones. 
    Sure you can trade the phone in at 12 months and stop paying for it, but you could also just sell any phone you own after 12 months and be way better off. 
    The smartest way of upgrading every year is to take the subsidy one year and pay full retail the other year. 
  • Well, you're paying double the subsidy IN ONE YEAR. It's $384 for the first year, but that last device you get will cost $640 (with a 20-month contract life). So you're paying 92% more on each device, and 220% more on your final device.
  • I see you 1020, come to poppa
  • I don't know.  I like upgrading more than every two years, but I also like keeping my most recent devices as a backup.
    But also, it doesn't make too much sense to me.  It sounds an awful lot like you're paying the off-contract price, but just doling it out over 12-20 months instead of all at once... except you don't get the benefits of not being under contract.
  • If the $32 is true for the 1020 then you'd pay $384 instead of $300 but no activation fee. That extra $50 allows you to get a new phone in a year instead of two years. If they charge $50/month it's not worth it, but an extra $50 a year? Sure thing!
  • I doubt the 1020 is $32 like the S4. On contract price for the S4 is $200 compared to the 1020 at $300.
    I'd imagine the 1020 is more.
  • @Josh, the $32 is not based off a subsidy, it's base off of the non-contract price. GS4 = $32 a month (x20 months) = $640, which is what AT&T charges for the non-contract phone Lumia 1020 = $32.95 a month (x20 months) = $659, which is what AT&T charges for non-contract phone
  • Cool.
  • So as long as you upgrade every 12 months, you are basically paying 12/20 = 60% of the cost of each phone, so you pay for 1.2 phones every 2 years (until your last month when you pay full price). For the same thing (new phone every year), it's a good deal as long as your phones' full cost is generally over 5 times the subsidized price. It's a good deal for $199 or higher subsidized phones, but a bad deal for $99 subsidized phones, so I wouldn't want to do this with something like the Lumia 920. If the day of super cheap subsidized Lumia phones is at an end, then maybe I would do this. Of course, the math is also thrown off if the new phone you want comes out a couple months later than your upgrade, since you'll pay just as much for that one and more for the current one. It's true of current prices, but the double subsidy makes it worse when you don't upgrade on time. So it's easy for this to get more expensive than just buying a phone full price in the off year. But it most likely will be comparable, and the only real effect of this new plan is psychological.
  • Oh wait, you don't get to keep the phone if you upgrade early? Then that's less of a good deal, depending on the value of the year-old phone (usually $300 at that point unless it's artificial hamstrung like the Lumia 900). So this is paying a bit more than just getting for a new phone at full price every other year, for the psychological benefit of never paying a big > $500 number at once.
  • Well, what it amounts to is $15-20/month to be able to upgrade annually, rather than bi-annually.
  • Yeah i don't midn paying 32 or 35 a year for the next 5 years and get 5 new phones each year too
  • Scenario 1:
    Year 1: Buy $600 phone 1 for $200
    END of Year 1: NET $200 paid, you own phone 1
    Year 2: Buy $600 phone 2 for $600, sell phone1 for $300 on eBay
    END of Year 2: NET $500 paid, you own phone 2, and are upgrade eligible Scenario 2
    Year 1: Get phone 1, pay $32x12 = $384
    END of Year 1: NET $384 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 1 but are eligible to trade it in
    Year 2: Trade in phone 1 and get phone 2, $32*12 = $384
    END of Year 2: NET $768 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 2 but are eligible to trade it in Need I go one? Well I will for another 2 years Scenario 1
    Year 3: Buy $600 phone 3 for $200, sell phone 2 for $300 on eBay
    END of Year 3: NET $400 paid, you own phone 3
    Year 4: Buy $600 phone 4 for $600, sell phone 3 for $300 on eBay
    END of Year 5: NET $700 paid, you own phone 4, and are upgrade eligible Scenario 2
    Year 3: Trade in phone 2 and get phone 3, $32*12 = $384
    END of Year 3: NET $1152 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 3 but are eligible to trade it in
    Year 4: Trade in phone 3 and get phone 4, $32*12 = $384
    END of Year 4: NET $1536 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 4 but are eligible to trade it in Simple math. You're basically an idiot if you do this deal.
  • This assumes Ebay trade value. I had an extremely hard time trying to sell my Titan and Lumia 900 that I ended up keeping them. It also assumes the $600/$200 relationship. If you are confident that you can always get $300 for your phone than obviously your way is better. If you're not then this isn't a bad option to consider.
  • It's better even if you don't trade your phones, and you still have the phones!
  • Exactly! Wtf!???!
  • Wait, so the plans are the same price and instead of owning your device after paying subsidized price up front you pay an additional monthly payment until phone is paid off or traded in? Wow, seems a rip unless they get cheaper plans! I thought the steep price of their plans helped pay for subsidized phone!?
  • You don't pay anything upfront except for sales tax. Engadget has the promo video which makesbit much more clear.
  • Exactly. I am also not getting this and how this is beneficial other than getting upgrades every year. So if you are on a plan and lets say paying $90 per month. In this I can get L920 on two year contract if I agree to stay on any postpaid plan with data and device will be mine. But on NEXT, I will pay more monthly fee depending on the device and on next upgrade (12 months), I exchange my device with new one and continue paying extra.
    Good for those who want to rent new device every year.
  • I feel with at&t trying to make Nokia windows phones there premiere hero phones, and saying there going to push the 1020 aggressively, this plan will help that cause now I can get a 1020 since I got my 920 last November.
  • Same here. This plan will push the 1020!
  • $32 per month + monthly wireless charges for the Samsung Galaxy S4. That comes to $384 for the whole year (just for the phone). So instead of paying the subsidized price of $199 for the phone you're paying $384, just to be able to upgrade 12 months down the
    line. Is this understanding correct? Should have been a bit cheaper IMO.
  • I don't get it, why should it be cheaper? You're leasing a highend smartphone for 12 months and are paying $384 a year for it as opposed to full price ($640). Instead you get to upgrade at the end of the year with no added costs. I'm not saying it's a bargain, but it doesn't seem terrible either.
  • Well, hypothetically, if somebody ends up keeping the phone for 20 months (doesn't like what ATT is offering 12 months down the line), that person ends up paying the whole price of the phone on top of the monthly wireless charges instead of the current subsidized price of the phone.
  • Yes, but they're not IN A CONTRACT any longer. Look, you can't have both a subsidized price AND no contract...c'mon.
  • I guess the question becomes: How likely are you to want to break the contract in 2 years? If the answer is "unlikely," then this offers you nothing. If you'd rather have some low-minutes, WiFi-only smartphone (which I could admittedly live off of, given the fact that I am rarely away from WiFi for more than 20 minutes at a time) on a prepaid plan, then this might work.
  • Because if your goal is to do this as cheap as possible, you should just sell your phone and buy a new one yourself. Don't buy it new from AT&T, buy it off of craigslist. I got a Lumia 920 for $350 a month after it was released brand new. Same thing a month earlier with tax would have been $487.
  • You're getting the same phone, but for an extra $184. Basically, we're talking about a 92% price increase to be able to upgrade sooner. Also, remember that once you reach that last device on AT&T, that's no longer $384, it's twice that. So, you get to pay 92% more for each device. You then purchase the device annually, not bi-annualy. So, in 2 years, you are goign from spending $200 to spending $768, and you're not even getting to keep both phones.
    If you don't upgrade annually, then it's simply $784 for the same device that was $200 otherwise. But again, is an annual upgrade worth an additional $184/year ($568 per 2-year contract cycle)? Now, I don't really know how leasing a car goes, but is leasing a car actually twice the price of buying it, let alone the nearly-four times the price these devices will cost, if kept for the full two years?
  • You'd need to factor in the early termination fee as well if wanting to upgrade after a year on the subsidized phone. Breaking the contract on a subsidized phone after a year is $205 ($325 - 12*$10) so the subsidized phone cost is $404 to be able to upgrade after a year. Although...that doesn't seem right because it would seem likely that AT&T Next would cost you a little bit more to upgrade once a year. Both options are cheaper than the 1-year contract subsidized price of $449. Either my math is wrong or this AT&T Next isn't such a bad deal after all....
  • So, over the long term we're paying for the whole price of the device? Instead of getting it subsidized?
  • Yes, which is why this only appeals to someone who wants to upgrade every year and doesn't want to sell their old phone and buy a new one off contract.
  • Awesome, thanks for the clarification. Sounds like leasing for phones.
  • It actually sounds like a better deal to buy a phone on a 2-year contract for $200, sell it for $200 after a year, then buy a $600 phone off-contract. That would make the cost of the first phone basically a wash (and selling a year-old phone for $200 probably isn't TOO difficult, seeing as a Galaxy S III is $450 off-contract with AT&T). you then get he second device for as long as you want for $500. If you do this AT&T thing, you pay $384 per year for a phone. That means that if you did the trade once, it would be $384 for the first phone. If you then kept the second phone, the 2-year cost for it would be $768, making the 3-year cost of the two phones $1,152.
  • "then buy a $600 phone off-contract" See, that part assumes a lot about what people can afford...which is what this tries to get around.
  • True enough, I can see the business sense in it but if a consumer can't afford to spend $600 on a smartphone, perhaps they shouldn't be buying $600 phones every year.
  • You're absolutely right, but that's what keeps these companies profitable!
  • ^THIS.
  • But this isn't saving them money, it's simply spreading it out. Basically, it's making its money off of the fact that people are too stupid to use those savings accounts that they open.
  • Filet mignon and Lobster or hamburger helper...not always what you want, but what you can afford. This feeds to the "gotta have it now, me first" mindset.
    Happy with Lumia 810, disappointed with T-Mob coverage, monthly charges work with my budget.
  • If I lived in America where these "contract's" and subsidies are normal I would be very glad to see this. And it's a logical step to me. If you're binding people to 2 year contracts, you're asking for them to leave as soon as new phones come out. This way they satisfy the consumers wishes to upgrade quickly while retaining their faithfulness.
    But again...I'm not American. I'm in Europe and here I buy phones at full price and change them whenever I feel like it without having to report anything to Vodafone. And I like it that way. 'cause face it...there's no such thing as free phones.
  • LOL
    of course not, I guarantee they are getting their money and looking for any new way they can to get more.
  • Well you have to pay a steep early-termination fee if you leave your contract before it is complete.
  • OK, I'm mind dumping here and maybe someone can chime in on a topic or two that I bring up. Maybe I'm not clear, but will this help people get the 1020?  Wouldn't you have to have ALREADY been paying the "Next" fee to qualify??  So, I assume that they will be using the full retail price of $700, so the monthly "Next" fee will be $35.  To set this up, they eliminated the 20th month "early upgrade" option which makes this now seem more "normal".  They also get to keep you locked in without a "contract".  Your "investment" in the Next Program would be lost if you move carriers.  If I go the whole 20 months, can I still trade it in and get the next phone for no fee or does that just let me get to keep the old device? We ARE already paying a subsidy fee, right?  That's why it's always been smarter to buy on a contract anyway, but now we will be paying the subsidy-included plan fee PLUS we're actually paying the full retail price of the phone OR what is actually a hefty lease....right???  :/ I need to find some details before I decide how devious this whole thing is.  
  • Presumably the Lumia 1020 will be offered on the Next program, meaning you can start with it and start paying it off on a monthly rate ($35?).
  • I hope you guys do an article on the math involved and who this would benefit. In my estimation it will benefit those who do not have the cash to pay for a phone up front, but want to have the latest and greatest every 12th month. In economics there is a value of utility that some people derive from various factors and having the new/shiny gives some people that utility.
    I'd LOVE to have the 1020, but I think I can wait until next year and hopefully that multi-sensor/lens thing makes it to a device and then I'll likely pay $199 subsidized price with a new contract. This deal sounds great, but only if you are intending to use it vs. buying at full retail because most of us have never paid full retail at the current monthly plan level which is bloated to cover the costs of subsidy. Right?? I'm very confused and maybe over thinking it. :)
  • AT&T is simply offering variety to appeal to as many customers as possible.  Some are like you and will upgrade their device every 2 years while signing a new contract.  Others will upgrade every year and pay an unsubsudized rate to maintain complete ownership over their property.  Others fall somewhere inbetween-wanting to upgrade every year but not having the upfront money to do so or wanting to deal with Craigslist or Ebay.
  • But it doesn't apply to people that aren't 'Upgrade Eligible' yet
  • I'm on it lol I want a1020
  • So... $640 for the S4 under that plan, or $384 if you change phones after 12 months. Plus taxes of course.
    No thank you.
  • Question: did you really think AT&T was going to just give you highend hardware at a cost to them? They already do that, it's called a contract.  It's not like everyone can afford a $640 in one payment or upfront. So you lease for 12 months (or pay it off in 20)--what's the big deal? It's a good option for some.
  • You can get an S4 on a 1 year contract with AT&T for $200, almost half the price of this plan.
    Is this off contract? Doesn't sound like it, if you pay more than you would on the usual 2 year contract, I would expect different cellular/data plans.
  • $32 a month x 20 months = $640 aka the off-contract price for the GS4
  • Yeah... but you're not off contract. Did you see the link? Right now you can get an S4 with a 1 year contract on AT&T for $200. That's half the price. I understand that this is good for people who want new phones every year, but its not a deal. Seems you are actually paying a premium to get the opportunity to upgrade annually.
  • So. . . I guess AT&T is taking note from T-Mobile now, huh?
  • How "pristine" will the traded-in phone have to be?  I can see the saying "oh, there's a scuff on the corner, so NO TRADE FOR YOU!"
  • I doubt that, doubt that very much. T-Mobile was clear: it has to boot up, no screen cracks and no water damage. All perfectly reasonable and I bet AT&T opts for the same.
  • So, it will still be a good idea to get the insurance.
  • Except that the insurance is another $10/month, plus a $100 deductible. In a year, you've added $120 to the cost, $220 if you have to replace the thing. At that point, you're just throwing money into a campfire, it seems.
  • You are paying for the off-contract price of the phone in 20 monthly installments. 659/20 = $33 a month. That's on top of an already overpriced plan. I think Tmobile's jump is better, but only because it allows for an upgrade in 6 months, and also because their plans are cheaper to begin with (even with the phone payments included). I'm going for it with the Lumia 925. My thinking is that I can get the 925 now, and then upgrade in 6 months if the 1020 or some other new WP comes out.
  • "That's on top of an already overpriced plan."
    In defense of AT&T, they tend to get the best phones first and have some of the best LTE coverage around. You get what you pay for. I say that as someone who really likes T-Mobile and will be in the store 9am Wed to get a 925.
  • AT&T probably has the better network, but I personally can't afford their plans. I would LOVE to have a 1020, but I can't justify the cost right now. WIth T-Mobile, I get a lot more "bang for the buck," haha. But I do appreciate the fact that they are shifting their business model. I think no contract or "psuedo" contract is the way of the future
  • T-Mobile's plan is definitely better but AT&T seems to get the flagship Windows Phones as exclusives.
  • That sounds expensive to me. I mean I am going to pay $32 a month, remember that you are still paying for your current even if you pay off your phone.
  • Right, or the alternative: you bought a Lumia 920 on contract some months ago for $99 and are now locked in for two years. You want the $659 Lumia 1020 next week--what now? Enter this plan. You're not really paying more, but you don't get to keep the phone if you trade it in. They're not adding finance charges on to it, so it's better than using a CC and you can keep the phone in 20 months or upgrade after 12.
  • I couldn't afford the additional payment on top of my $100 phone bill. If by example, the S4 would be $384 more the first year. Naaa, can't do that! I'm sure the 1020 would be about $600.
    The $300 up front on the 1020 sounds like a better option for me! But I can't do that either.
  • Yeah, no thanks. This is no deal. And its crap compared to what TMobile is offering. Leave it to ATT and Verizon to come up with an idea that may sound good, except it's not and just makes them more money. No thanks. I'd rather see a drop in my monthly rate or an actual deal that saves me money
  • I wouldn't say it's crap, it's just spreading the cost of the device out over a few months. It's not for me but I could see some people going for this... As to saving you money, that's called signing a 2 year contract. But no one wants that anymore, so I'm not sure how we $600+ phones into people's hands for a "deal". I get people don't want contracts, but it seems like they want to keep the subsidies. It's just not realistic. AT&T won't drop their price, they have no reason to.
  • Well if enough people are smart enough and stick to their guns and dont buy this crap plan AT&T will have to drop their prices. It's a consumer driven market, NOT driven by vendors. We as consumers should absolutely refuse to abear with practices like this. It should be straight up subsidy or payment plans. AT&T should be much more transparent with the cost of their services and subsidies. But because they are not, they will get away with charging people twice for a phone. The $X on the Next program is not a upgrade fee. the money goes to the cost of the phone. But they are already charging you for the cost of the phone in your monthly plan. That is NOT the same thing as leasing a car as you are not paying twice for the one car.
  • When you trade in a device to At&t don't you get money back towards a new device? I wonder if that still works with this new plan. It would make it more of a deal. Granted since you're paying installments then it probably won't.
    Also, clicking the att link for some reason searching on WPC for the link and doesn't go to the link.
  • This sounds like AT&T version of Aaron's Rent to own.
    i think i'm going to wait to see what carrier in Canada gets the 1020, if it's Roger's then i'll buy it unlocked on Negri and use it on Tmo.. but i haven't seen a canadian release date...sigh
  • It probably won't be too long before you hear something, going by how soon they got the 920.
  • That's the advantage Tmobile has--no contracts/lower monthly cost to compensate for self financing. AT&T should be ashamed of themselves for even trying to make people think this is a good deal. IT'S HORRIBLE!
  • Hrm, I prefer the current model. I like keeping my "old" phones as spares or, more commonly, as upgrades for the lesser members of my family HAH. Heck, I could even sell it if I wanted. "Next" requires I pay down a new phone and then trade it in... Only ATT wins. Not much different from a vehicle lease if you have money to throw away.
  • That's my problem with these programs I haven't given a phone back to a carrier ever and I doubt I'd want to start
  • It's a fact that they are shaking us down for every penny we have but I can easily pay an extra $35 a month vs the $250 for a early upgrade fee plus $299 for the 1020 knowing your going to pay more over time won't stop people from signing up for it if they don't have $659 laying around
  • Year 1: Buy $600 phone for $200
    Year 2: Sell phone for $300, buy $600 phone for full retail 
    Cheaper than this bullshit
  • It's cheaper, but there are a lot of assumptions in there. Like that you will be able to get $300 for your old phone after a year, or that you have the hundreds of dollars to buy the phone. It is easier, generally, for people to pay a monthly bill, then to save for something in the future. I think at&t will have people jumping on this, I won't be one of them though.
  • JPDVM2014 I think you get what im saying this program will have people jumping on it because they are able to pay that monthly charge vs the fee or full price and the temptation of getting a new flag ship phone every year will also make people sign up no matter how the math adds up
  • Did you guys delete the comment by that anti-American bigot and my response to him?
    If not, you should. There is no place for that. Now those damn Canadians on the other hand... LOL kidding, I like all 3 of the Canadians I've met.
  • Daniel Rubino should work for AT&T, he's pushing this plan hard.
  • This is the main problem with most tech sites today. They are just paid shills for their corporate sponsors.This AT&T Next program is an obvious rip-off. Anyone with basic arithmetic skills can see this. These "upgrade more often" plans are big telco's way of dealing with smartphone market saturation. Hype up the new phones and then see how many fools they can get to sign up for an "upgrade plan" as well as a phone plan that has rates that already include a phone subsidy. It's basically stealing money from dumbed down Americans who don't have the mental fortitude to resist the endless hype that surrounds smartphones.
  • This is a ridiculous comment. Daniel doesn't seem to be a "paid shill". He is just trying to point out that this plan is no different than buying an off-contract phone and keeping at&t's service. I.e. Galaxy s4 off contract is $640 + $100/mo plan. With the next program, after 20 months, you paid $640 for the s4, and you have a $100 monthly plan. Its exactly the same. Granted, its more expensive if you upgrade yearly, but that is the price of upgrading early. Now, I'm not saying this is a good deal, its still best to sign a contract if you can hold out for 2 yrs and dont plan on leaving AT&T, I'm just trying to see where Dan is coming from.
  • I don't think Dan is pushing it it's just that he has At&t so he knows that we already pay alot while we are stuck in jail for 2 years so paying $35 more bucks may be worth it to have the ability to upgrade earlier vs waiting for a year and a half yes thier math is off but as someone who has been told I have to pay up front. $250 plus the price of the phone in full this is helpful though im not 100% on board with it
  • My god, why is everybody having such a hard time processing this plan? You pay installments for the off contract price of the phone, as a trade off to stay off contract.. Seems simple to me. There is no cost difference than if you bought the phone out right, off contract. If you don't want the increase to your monthly payment, but want to upgrade more frequently, your other option is to pay for the phone in one lump sum. Options..
  • I don't think this "off contract".
  • Two problems with that:
    1. As mentioned its not of contract, you still pay the high plan prices that subsidise $199 phones
    2. You have to give the phone back
    If they said you could pay $35 a month and use it on a cheap prepaid plan then sell the phone like you could if you bought it outright it would be different.
  • Its technically off-contract. Its just at&t doesn't differentiate. Afaik, neither does Verizon. So, since the two biggest carriers in the US dont do it, I dont think as many people care as you think should. I think this plan will do well.
  • Nice
  • 1020... You are mine
  • It helps people who go through phones every 12 months, have to add a line for $10 a month they're not going to use, $240 after a year, plus activation fee, $36, plus cost of the subsidy phone $299. Which is what I was going to do because I can't upgrade until November. (early upgrade would make that the same price, except all upfront) I'm paying $40 extra a month total for lines I'm not using. I added them to get a phone at the lowest cost to me upfront. I added an extra line to get me a new phone, wife a new phone and uncle. He's not on my account now, but his line is. So have 6 lines total. All under contract. $200 a month, for two lines on a 6GB MS plan, the ghost lines were turned into "tablets", so $200 roughly before tax.
    Myself I have 5+lines, only use two, where as the other lines sit there. $480 extra a year. $960 extra for two years. Now. Say we ride it out, drop all the other lines, down to just us. $160 a month before discount. We both opt for NEXT, $220 a month to be able to upgrade every 12 months. Or add a line for $10 x2, $180x24 months, $4320, plus $72 (2x $36 activation fees), $220x20 $4400. There's literally an $8 difference if I did it once. The main difference is, I pay the subsidy up front, added line added every 12 months, ends up costing more. 4 lines total, rotating upgrades every 12 months, $72 upgrade fees would make it cost more. Even not adding a line and doing an early upgrade is $250+susbsidy+upgrade fee PER device, subsidy+250 due up front.
  • This doesn't help anyone. It costs a LOT more than buying a phone on subsidy 1 year and then full retail the next year. A LOT, LOT more. 
  • Sounds like this is a lease plan... I might be interested if I could keep my old device..
  • I would imagine you could pay off the remaining cost of the phone instead of trading it in.  I think that's how the T-Mobile plan works, anyway.  You really should be able to do that even before the 12 months is up since it's not much different then from bringing your own off-contract phone, but I suppose if AT&T finances it for a few months they'll have some restrictions.
  • The Press Release states this: "There’s no penalty for paying off the installment plan early." So theoretically you can do the installment plan and if you have extra money each month just double the payment and have the phone paid off early to keep instead of trading in.
  • John Legere is going to have a field day with this one. Blinded by their own greed, AT&T comes up with a crappy knock off of JUMP.
  • Is there anyone here who understands and has used the AT&T ETF to upgrade their phone? Can I just pay $205 ($325 minus $10 a month) after a year and upgrade my phone as though my contract was complete? I'd appreciate any information. 
  • Am curious about this question too. 
  • The ONLY advantage to this is the shorter upgrades other miss just paying more...
  • This i cool, after reading some of these comments, it's like no one has ever heard of metro pcs or any other pay as you go type companies. Yeah your paying your phone into your bill(which i couldnt afford) but I clearly see it as you would lease a car. Cool for those like my cousin who's gotta have "New" phones when they drop. Eh maybe one day for me, I've been ok just payin for 2 year contract, even if i was to upgrade im glad i still have my L920.
  • Tmo had this years ago. I used for a bold 9700 and an HTC hd2 back in 2010 because I switched devices so often. Great idea though.
  • I find this to be interesting timing. Up until now we have been seeing doubling or even trippling in processing power in each successive generation of high end smartphones (especially in the GPU department). 2012 was the first year where such massive improvements have begun to level off. I am not saying that we are at the end of progress for smarphones, but I think that we are done with the 'low hanging fruit' of easy improvements, and now device manufacturers have to fight a lot harder to get more performance to push high res screens but without loosing out on battery life. Sure, there are devices like the 1020 which bring a truly new feature to the mix... but these types of improvements do not happen every day. Most improvements are software, and most of the time that they are not given to last gen models has more to do with selling new phones rather than the capabilities of the old phones (so grateful Nokia is not following this path with ProCam).
    Anywho, point is that we are fast approaching the point in mobile hardware that we saw in desktop hardware with the release of the Core2Duo: Yes, the newer toys are faster and sexier, but now 5 years later a Core2Duo can still keep up with most modern systems for most tasks (not gaming of course). Where you use to need to purchase a new computer every 2-3 years just to browse the web, now you only need to upgrade every 5-7 years (again, not talking about gaming here). Phones are now taking a similar turn; Modern smartphones are finally 'good enough' for most things, and in a few years phone companies are going to have to really turn up the heat in order to get people to upgrade because people's 3 year old smartphones are still going to be 'good enough'.
    In a saturated market with less upgrades there will be a ton of hardware manufacturers (on both the component and product level) which will simply drop out in search of the next big thing, or be aquired by their more successful competitors. But smartphone users will simply be looking for service providers that offer the best deal for their older (but still very capable) phones. The TMobiles and Straight Talk companies with prepaid plans will grow unless ATT and VZW adapt to that future market. But I think that they see this coming. I think they see this as the last big money grab before smartphones become viewed as a utility instead of a luxury item. People are programmed to be jealous of each year's new phone offerings while being stuck on a 2 year contract, so the time is ripe to give them that opportunity while the public is still thinking that way, but just as the hardware is no longer going to support the model. At the end of the day the company ends up pocketing a nice chunk of change while consumers upgrade less often until they notice that they signed up for a useless program. Then again, I guess I could be wrong.
  • I was thinking the same thing...sure you get to upgrade every year, but what if nothing better comes out from your provider? You're stuck with that phone and paying more for it.
  • Last paragraph of the pres release nails it:
    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.
    So, my options are: Current plans - discounted device with service commitment Full price with zero commitment by me for ongoing service Full price in twenty installments, and I can stop paying that after twelve and get a new device Partial discounted device with upgrade after six months, provided I give a two year commitment It's not a *better* deal, it's a *different* deal. This isn't making my AT&T phone cheaper, it's giving me more options to have the kind of upgrade cycle and plan commitment I want.
    Think T-Mo's a better option? Switch over to them. I've been happy with my AT&T service, it's rock solid where I need it to be, and they've been good to us over the years.
    I did go digging a bit in the Next website about wireless contract. From the fine print, it looks like there's no ongoing commitment, but cancelling service brings the installments due: (
    If you cancel wireless service, remaining balance on device becomes due.
  • Best and most level headed explanation in the comments. You sir should win some type of prize.
  • Thank you!
  • Ok, I got a 920 from ATT at launch, on 2 year contract. What are my options for upgrading to a 1020?
  • Cheapest way: Pay full retail for the 1020 and sell your 920 on eBay It's always the cheapest way. Think about it: why would carriers set up a new plan where it's cheaper for the USER to upgade? THEY would be losing money then.
  • I will show up at a local Microsoft store 10 am tomorrow morning to place the pre-order for my 1020.  I have found a way to land a 1020 at a reasonable price.  I have a L920 now and my wife has a L900.  Her contract will be ended on next 6/13.  We have a family phone plan with AT&T.  If we do a early upgrade by using her phone, we need to pay $250 upgrade fee in addition to the $299.  That is a no no.  So we decide to buy a new L1020 instead and add it to our family plan and pay $9.99 per month for the basic phone services only until next June when her contract is up.  We don't need to purchase another data plan since we can just swap sim card -move my sim card on L920 to L1020 and move sim card on her L900 to L920.  I will be ended up using L1020 and she would use my L920.  We both got phone upgrade.  The 10 month basic phone service fee would add up to $100 total to my $299 purchase price.  I can save $150 this way by not paying $250 early upgrade fee.  At the same time, we will trade her L900 and my old L900 back to Nokia for $84 each thru the Nokia Trade-up Program.  With the free Camera Grip MS store offered, the total cost out of our pocket to get a L1020 will be $299 + $100 - $59 - $84x2 = $172. for two year contract.  We are both happy for these phone changes and not have to wait unitl next June for upgrade.
  • Not a 1 year contract btw, 2 years. You're paying the same as if you did an early upgrade, just not all at once. $10 x 24 months.
  • No.  By next 6/13, we will cancel my wife's L900 contract and stop paying her basic phone service fee.
  • You will not be able to get just the 9.99 plan, you will have to add on the $30 data package as well. They will not let you buy a smart phone without it. So you will be paying $39.99 a month which is basically the same as just using the new NEXT program.
  • Scenario 1: Year 1: Buy $600 phone 1 for $200 END of Year 1: NET $200 paid, you own phone 1 Year 2: Buy $600 phone 2 for $600, sell phone1 for $300 on eBay END of Year 2: NET $500 paid, you own phone 2, and are upgrade eligible   Scenario 2 Year 1: Get phone 1, pay $32x12 = $384 END of Year 1: NET $384 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 1 but are eligible to trade it in  Year 2: Trade in phone 1 and get phone 2, $32*12 = $384 END of Year 2: NET $768 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 2 but are eligible to trade it in    Need I go on? Well I will for another 4 years   Scenario 1 Year 3: Buy $600 phone 3 for $200, sell phone 2 for $300 on eBay END of Year 3: NET $400 paid, you own phone 3 Year 4: Buy $600 phone 4 for $600, sell phone 3 for $300 on eBay END of Year 4: NET $700 paid, you own phone 4, and are upgrade eligible Year 5: Buy $600 phone 4 for $200, sell phone 4 for $300 on eBay END of Year 5: NET $600 paid, you own phone 5 Year 6: Buy $600 phone 4 for $600, sell phone 5 for $300 on eBay END of Year 6: NET $900 paid, you own phone 6, and are upgrade eligible   Scenario 2 Year 3: Trade in phone 2 and get phone 3, $32*12 = $384 END of Year 3: NET $1152 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 3 but are eligible to trade it in  Year 4: Trade in phone 3 and get phone 4, $32*12 = $384 END of Year 4: NET $1536 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 4 but are eligible to trade it in  Year 5: Trade in phone 4 and get phone 5, $32*12 = $384 END of Year 3: NET $1920 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 5 but are eligible to trade it in  Year 6: Trade in phone 5 and get phone 6, $32*12 = $384 END of Year 4: NET $2304 paid, you still owe $256 on phone 6 but are eligible to trade it in    Simple math. You're basically an idiot if you do this deal. The more years you go on the more ridiculous it gets. 
  • +1020
  • You make too many assumptions:  1. The price of the phones won't change, may increase or decrease 2. That buying phones on contract to get discounts will continue 3. Leaving out addtional costs to repair heavily damaged phones in the case of the trade in program 4. That you'll be able to get that much on eBay 5. People who want the latest and greatest are concerned with price
  • So the thing to do is upgrade every year and that will save you money in the long run. I love my 822, but if Verizon does this, I can see me getting the 928 or their 1020 model. I like having the option to choose.
  • No. No not at all. This will cost you a lot more money. Do the math. 
    Man AT&T is going to make BANK with this shitty plan. People don't ever do the math. 
  • Everyone is in different situations financially ... leasing a car or a phone makes sense in some situations. The option to upgrade is more important than the contracted commitment to many, it may be more costly over time but it may fit the individuals need right now. Taking advantage of the option is valuable to some and worth paying for. But once you're in this plan, you probably have to upgrade annually to make it worth the cost.
    Most people don't think their phone is worth the full price manufacturers charge anyway...providers practically give them away, and the workforce used to make them is practically slave labor in many cases, so expecting people to come up with big money to buy one every couple of years simply doesn't work. Sure its another way to hook the consumer, that's business, some will buy, some won't.
  • Now all this carriers have the reason not to lower the price of the phone with 2 year contracts,at the same time this a great news for people that want to change every year... Yes
  • asddsafdfasdfad
  • I agree with you, but people like myself buy phones every 6-8 months anyway and that's super costly - because your still paying the same rates as a subsidized phone.
    This nice little incentive of no money down, no fees (which always add up $80) and always having a new phone, every year, and never pay a fee, deposit or subsidy and just trade in your old phone?
    I can see this model being beneficial for Windows Phone where the platform hardware hasn't yet matured, but I see no compelling reason for anyone to NEED to upgrade from their GS3 or iPhone 5 for quite a while - they have a lot of power under the hood (except maybe some Android apps which are sluggish to begin with)
    If MS keeps current phones running WP 8, 8.1 and 8.2 then I don't see why a next gen quad core WP will need to be updated as frequently.
    But I will likely upgrade anyway.
  • I'm officially an idiot, I forgot it said 20 months (vs. Tmo's 24 months)
  • Of course this sounds bad for the customer people. AT&T is a "for profit" corporation. They are in business to make money. This isn't suppose to save you money or be a better deal. This is suppose to be an option for people who want to have the latest and greatest device. This plan allows you to get a new phone every year if you want to. In order to have that convenience you have to pay a little extra. How many times have people complained about buying a phone and then a few months later a better phone comes out and people bitch about having to wait until their 2 year contract is up. "Oh man I just bought the L900 and now the L920 is announced. I have to wait 2 years now before I can get it. This sucks!" How many times did I read that on these forums? A lot. Now with this option people can get a phone and in 12 months when a new flagship phone is available get that phone. This plan doesn't make sense for everybody but for some of us who are cell phone junkies and need the latest and greatest phones this plan might work for them.
  • Hmmmm... This business model will not allow me to give my 6 month "old" phones to family and friends. :/
    I must think about this..... Before 9am when I go to the ATT Store and pre-order 2 with my sales rep! :D
  • No thanks. I doubt I'll want to trade in my 41MP camera phone after only 1 yr. I like passing down my phones to family members.
  • I will buy one on contract for my partner and I will likely get use the new plan for no money down.
    I get quite an earful whenever I get a new phone out of contract. :O
  • Sounds like O2 Refresh here in the UK where the contract and the phone are separate
  • Ugh...first TMo THEN AT&T?! Verizon.....:'( pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease?!
  • Who cares how they sell phones in one country.
  • On the other side I may stick to prepaid and Craigslist upgrades lol...this kind of doesn't seem like a deal. Like I'm paying a 32 a month lease on a phone....
  • I'll take it.
  • I'll just wait for my upgrade time. I don't want to add more onto my bill. Besides my 920 still has lots of life in it.
  • On a brighter note, I just preordered my white 1020. Can't wait.
  • I just added a line to my family plan with a preOrder for the 1020. $35 extra each month to add to shared plan until I cancel my first line. The cancellation fee and a month or two of paying the extra $35 I estimate ill pay close to $500 to $600 when its all said and done. I just dont have $659 + tax upfront.
  • I'm getting it!
  • I get a kick out of all the complainers, it's not like it's being forced upon you (yet) and I'm sure several of you will be taking advantage of this new program despite your carps.  Sooner or later the contract pricing is going away anyway and this will likely be the low cost option.  IMO this is a great option!
  • This is going to make it more important than ever for Microsoft to add Skydrive backup for Windows Phone's apps and game progress.
  • Verizon will have the Edge program and that name is way cooler
  • I had to just spoke to AT&T last night about trying to upgrade to a 1020.  Since the terms had changed from 18-24mos, they told me I wouldn't be eligible until April '14.  I was so pissed but now I'm even more disturbed that the representative didn't even mention this new program.  I mean like I said, I spoke to them yesterday!!
  • No way they could have told you yesterday when no one knew about it until today.
  • Simple math. It is expensive. I guess it is what it is if you want to upgrade every year.
  • It seems like it would cost less to take out a new line on a family plan. 
  • Daniel, for articles like this you guys should just follow up the news portion with a summary section to explain what it means, address the questions you just know people will ask and basically head off all the comments that attend a story like this. Who will this plan benefit? People who want to upgrade early and regularly.
    Will I save money? No, you're paying a small premium for upgrade flexibility.
    Isn't this a total rip-off? No, like all of these options the prices are fine-tuned to ensure you pay a little more but not so much more that no one will do it.
    Etc., etc., etc...
  • Does this function like t-mobile or is it 70$ contract + 40$ per smartphone PLUS a galaxy s4 for 32$? That would indeed be pricey. Edit: whereas Tmobile's is like 70+20+10, which I guess is the same but much less expensive?
  • I know a bunch of suckers who are gonna fall for this scam and then complain later about how broke they are....
  • S4 example: You can pay $384, trade it in, and pay another $384 for your S5. Or you can pay $200, own the phone, sell it after a year for $300, and buy an S5 for $650 and be able to sell that for $300. $770 vs $250.
  • March 2014, assuming they are still offering this, I might upgrade to the newest Lumia device. ^_^
  • I'm on at&t gophone, found discounted service cards for $47/mo. and get lte and 2gb data/mo. I will buy new 1020 from at&t for one reason only, they honor the one year warranty on the device, even on prepaid, instead of going thru Nokia. L920 peeps know having a warranty is a good thing;)!
  • Nice! What's your plan have? I'm in college and I need to cut corners. I'm on my parents but paying for my portion of the bill. This is the only bill we share lol.
  • Gophone $60 smartphone plan. Fairly easy to find discounted service cards, 10% or more regularly.
  • The best part of these plans isn't that it allows you to upgrade a phone within a 1 year period, it's that it allows you to replace your phone if it breaks. IMO that's the good news to all this. 
    However I know that the latest device is important to a lot of people and the 1020 is a great looking phone. 
    I'll stick with my Lumia 920 for a bit longer and then hope that the next generation of Windows Phone 8.1 devices have just a bit more to them. Can't wait for a PureView 41 MP camera though. 
  • On this new option, you have to trade your phone back in at the end of the 12 months to stop paying for it.  If it is broken, they will either charge additional costs or not take it back.
    Excerpt from FAQs:
    What if my phone is damaged (e.g. cracked screen)? Can I still trade it in after 12 months?
    Yes. However, we reserve the right to charge a fee to repair the device and return it to fully functional and good physical condition.
  • My 920 will last me a couple years..
  • I was hoping that would be the case until 1020 showed up. With a camera that advanced, that would be the device that will last for a couple years
  • until the 1080p phones come out!! haha
  • You can still get your early upgrade every 12 (+$250) and full upgrade every 24 you can do a new phone every 12 months at 0% interest, not bad.
  • Guys, think about this. If you buy a phone off contract with AT&T, you don't ge discounted plans for that. You are still paying for a subsidized plan. If you buy a subsidized phone in a new contract, at the end of the contract, does your plan price go down? Of course not! You are no longer in a contract, but you are still paying for the same plan which includes the cost of a subsidized phone. So if you choose to stay with at&t, you are still paying the same price. Sure, you can upgrade if you like, but have to come out of pocket and start over again. Owning a phone out right only benefits you if you plan on taking that phone to another network or selling it. I actually think this is a good deal for those who love to stay current on device technology and get a new phone every year. Keep in mind, we all still pay for the subsidized plans regardless of which option you choose.
  • So if you wanted to, for a 2year contract you could get 3phones (2 with att next,and one with your att 2 year contract)
  • 32*12 =384 no thank you
  • After a year where are all these traded in phones going to end up? India? Africa? West Virginia?
  • So, wait, i pay $200 to upgrade my phone, and then in order to be able to upgrade again in a year, I pay an additional $384 (32*12) ?  I don't get a discounted plan, so i've now paid $584 for the phone, and in a year, i can start all over.  
    Seems to me, that AT&T is just financing the phone for you, and probably at a high interest rate at that.  
    Does anybody know, when you upgrade, do you have to surrender the old phone ?
    All around, this seems like a horrible idea.  I HATE how the phone companies hold all the power, and how they collude to keep prices high.
  • This just seems rather pointless to me.  I could just sign a two year contract and after 12 months just cancel for cheaper than this plan.  From ATT "$325 minus $10 for each full month of completed Service Commitment" would make it $205 or $17.08/month.  Then just get another 2 year, the new phone I wanted, and save money.  Considering the S4 would be $34/month or $408 for the first 12 months, this is just stupid.
  • Its pay a lot now vs pay little now & little later. Just marketing.
  • I haven't bought a phone under contract for maybe 10 years. What's the point? For me its easier to just pay full price upfront. If I want another phone in a year, sell the old one on eBay for a pretty good price and buy a new one off contract. Couldn't be easier.
  • Verizon?????
  • You have to pay sales tax though. That has been left out the article. None the less this is great (sort of ) for att customer's.
  • It's a rip off!!!
  • Yes sir! Looks like Lumia 1020 it is!
  • So, in summation, from my understanding this is a plan to let the impatient people pull down their pants and bend over?
    Paying 2x for an early upgrade isn't exactly a "deal" IMO.
  • Before you fall into AT&T's trap, please read this except from an article on the Verge today about AT&T's new NEXT plan. Nobody with any brains would sign up for this plan. AT&T's Next phone upgrade plans are a huge ripoff
    Let's do the math: AT&T says that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will have a monthly installment fee of $32, on top of your existing AT&T service fees, which already include a device subsidy. The exact amount of that subsidy is unknown — AT&T declined to comment when I asked — but most industry estimates have put it at something like $20 per month. That's how you can get a GS4 for $199 with a new two-year contract, even though it costs $620 at retail: after two years, AT&T will have collected $680 in total device payments from you, and you get to keep the phone.
    But the balance tips entirely towards AT&T with Next. Assuming that same $20 subsidy, after 12 months of Next you will have paid AT&T $384 in Next monthly installments and $240 in device subsidies, for a grand total of $620. Again, that's exactly the full retail cost of an unlocked Galaxy S4 — but you don't get to keep that phone, even though you just paid full price for it. You have to trade it in to get a new phone — effectively giving AT&T a free GS4 to refurbish and resell to its next unwitting customer.
    Now, you do get to keep your Next phone if you pay 20 monthly installments, which will cost you a whopping $1,040 if you assume a $20 subsidy: $640 in Next payments, plus $400 in subsidies built into your AT&T plan. That's $420 in pure profit for AT&T, which just made you pay full price for a phone while charging you inflated service prices that include a subsidy specifically designed to lower the upfront cost of that phone.
  • The point with anything you buy is this, if you can afford it then buy it outright and upfront or cash on the spot.  If you have to finance it as this plan does, then do so but understand it will cost more.
    This is not rocket science, ATT is just smartly trying to get more customers into new phones.  If you cannot afford whatever you want to buy outright, then just like any other product, you really need to have a sit down with your finances to see if you should be getting a new phone.
  • This is so a rip off!!!! All phone companies did away with contracts and now you would have to pay full PRICE for a phone, they believe because they are allowing you to pay monthly for the phone it is a great choice. No it isnt at least with contracts you had a discount on the phone you wanted and only had to pay the phone service fee. I am one of the ones that didn't mind waiting 2 years to upgrade a phone, but now even if you want to upgrade at any time you have to pay off the balance of the phone and enter into another payment agreement. Rip offffffffff to me in my opinion.