AT&T just widened the availability of their Next early upgrade program. Prior to now, Next was available to new customers as well as those who are eligible for an upgrade. As of now, any customer currently on a two year agreement, and has been for at least six months can opt to change their plan to a Next contract.
For those unfamiliar with Next, it allows customers to upgrade their device once every year. The customer pays $0 down and makes an additional payment to their monthly bill to cover the cost of the new phone. Also, the previously used device needs to be traded in at the time of purchase.
As good as it sounds, Next isn’t actually a value to the customer. Sure, getting upgrades faster is awesome, however not if you have to pay for your device twice. Unlike their competitor, T-Mobile, AT&T does not lower the monthly bill of a Next customer to account for the device subsidy. You pay for your subsidy in your monthly bill, and with Next you pay again with the additional monthly payment.
As tempting as it may be, I recommend against using this service. You will be signing a new two year contract, and paying twice for your new phone. You don’t even get to keep your old one.
If you want to see your upgrade eligibility dial *NEW# or hop over to http://wwwatt.com.
[toggle title=”Press Release” state=”close” ]Dallas, Texas, January 20, 2014 Loyalty pays with AT&T.* Available now, existing customers on 2-year service agreements** can upgrade to the hottest new smartphone for $0 down with AT&T Next. At the same time, they can move to our new Mobile Share Value plans and start realizing significant monthly rate plan savings, featuring unlimited voice and text, and the ability to add smartphone lines to a data plan for $25 more per line per month, all while enjoying the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network*** AT&T customers on a two-year agreement as of January 18, 2014 are eligible to upgrade to AT&T NextSM six months into their contract. To check their eligibility, customers can dial *NEW# and begin to take advantage of this early upgrade opportunity in AT&T retail stores, and online at www.att.com. “We want our customers to have the best smartphones, on a high quality, blazing fast and reliable network, all at a great value,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. “It’s a win-win – customers get the latest devices with $0 down on the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network with significant savings on their monthly bill when they sign-up for our Mobile Share Value plans.” * AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. ** For existing consumer and select small business customers currently on a 2-year agreement. All customers on a 2-year agreement as of January 18, 2014 will be eligible to upgrade once they have completed their first 6 months of service. Customers who sign up for a 2-year agreement after January 19, 2014 will benefit from new, shorter upgrade timeframe of 20 months. Individual account details vary. Customers can check eligibility by dialing *NEW#. ***Savings compares Mobile Share Value plan w/ smartphone w/ no annual contract (or on an AT&T Nextsm installment agmt) to one on a 2-yr agmt. Additional monthly charge per additional device, AT&T Next installmentsm charges, & for additional data. Other fees & restrictions apply. Plans w/ smartphone start at $45/mo. w. 300 MB data. Subject to change. Reliability claim based on data transfer completion rates on nationwide 4G LTE networks. 4G LTE not available everywhere.[/toggle]