Home

Share this Story

AT&T Announces “AT&T Next” as a Plan to Get Customers a New Smartphone or Tablet Every Year With No Down Payment

ATT logo

AT&T didn’t wait until July 16 to announce (unless you are on east coast time) “what’s next in wireless,” which they teased us all about last week. “What’s next” is their new upgrade plan called “AT&T Next” that allows customers to purchase a smartphone or tablet with no down payment (or activation fees) and agree to pay monthly installments for the device. After 12 payments, customers can decide if they’d then like to keep the device or trade it in again for another brand new device (once again with no down payment). If they’d like to keep their current phone, they can pay their device off after 20 months. 

There is no monthly fee to participate in this plan, plus monthly installments range from $15 to $50 per month. The example AT&T gives includes a Galaxy S4 – you can pick up a GS4 with no money down and pay $32 per month for 12 months and then upgrade to something new, or keep it and pay it off in 20. Paying off the phone early does not mean a penalty either.

The new AT&T Next plan goes live on July 26.

Here are the major bullet points according to AT&T:

  • Customers can get a new device with no down payment
  • Upgrade and activation fees are waived with AT&T Next
  • The monthly device installments do not have a financing fee
  • There’s no penalty if the customer pays off the balance of their installment plan early
  • Customers can trade in their device after 12 months, or they can keep using their device, and have no more installment payments after 20 months
  • There’s no additional monthly fee required to participate in AT&T Next upgrades
  • Devices operate on the nation’s fastest 4G LTE network

This news comes on the heals of T-Mobile’s JUMP! program that was announced last week and our exclusive story on Verizon’s upcoming upgrade plan called VZ Edge.

Intro Video

YouTube Preview Image

Press Release

AT&T Customers Can Get a New Smartphone or Tablet Every Year With No Down Payment With “AT&T Next”

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, Texas, 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 www.att.com/next or at any AT&T retail store.

*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.

** Requires 20-month 0% APR installment agreement & qualifying credit. Wireless service req. (voice & data for smartphones/data for tablets). If you cancel wireless service, remaining balance on device becomes due.Sales tax due at sale. Qualifying devices only. Upgrade after 1 yr.: Req. min. 12 installment payments, acct. in good standing, plus trade-in of current device in good & functional condition & purchase of new device/wireless agreement & service plan. After upgrade remaining unbilled installment payments are waived. AT&T Next available only at AT&T owned retail stores & att.com. If device is returned, restocking fee up to $35 for smartphones or 10% of tablet sales price may apply. Terms subject to change.

*** PCWorld/TechHive, May 23, 2013, “AT&T clocks best overall speeds with 3G/4G combo”

**** PC Magazine, June 17, 2013; http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420333,00.asp

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T |DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

  • ben

    Once again these carriers figured out a way to act like they are giving customers what they want, yet taking more and more money for themselves. Unfortunately the general US population has a lot of money and is to stupid and oblivious to realize that they are being screwed. Take for example the GS4 in the article-$32/month for 20 months!? That’s $640! Meanwhile Google is clearing the Nexus 4 stock for 200/250 for the 8GB/16GB??

  • rc137

    I was looking at it again. Do they mean total of 20 months for the installment plan (can get a new phone after 12 months and skip the remaining 8 months) or can decide to keep phone (after paying for 12 months) and continue making payments for an additional 20 months?

  • Chakri

    Does anyone notice the catch in this plan? What happens to the 12 month payments you made towards the phone? So, basically you will be trading in the phone and loose the 12 months payment and get a new phone. why the hell do they need down payments then.

  • Paul

    Bidroop Codes:
    4Nfld3Mt
    EQunpdgj
    UkenYjP3
    4QekEM6i
    gn9Ziqy2

  • Knlegend1

    I see a lot of people complaining that you renting phones or whatever. Think about it though why do you need your old devices other than say a nexus which can be held at high demand as classics. Most old phones sit in a drawer collecting dust and memories. I’m happy to upgrade my phone every year if I want. The only negative thing I see is how will manufactures respond. Will they continue to pump phones out or will innovation slow down dramatically. BTW Sprint it’d your move now.

  • Knlegend1

    Finally!!!!

  • Blaine Magee

    Bring back unlimited data AT&T and we will talk.

  • Zach Armstrong

    Still rather go and pick up a Nexus or Play Edition phone off the Play store and go with AT&T Prepaid the $60 plan is cheaper than what I’m paying now

  • Stephen

    I feel like I am a minority that likes to keep their old phone when they upgrade. I still have every smartphone i’ve owned since the OG droid, and my mom is currently using my old galaxy nexus, and I still have the droid charge laying around. I don’t like the idea of having to trade in my phone to get a new one early, unless of course I absolutely hated it or something.

  • Timothy Sternig

    Doesn’t seem like much of a deal to me.

  • gtg465x

    So let’s do some math..

    The current / old way:

    A $650 phone costs you $200 subsidized with a two year contract. You keep it for 12 months, sell it for at least $200 on Craigslist or Ebay, and then buy another $650 phone at full price off contract.

    In 24 months, you have spent a net total of $650 and own the second phone you purchased. Or, you can sell the second phone for $200 and only be out a net total of $450 for phones over two years.

    The new way:

    A $650 phone costs you nothing up front, but you pay $32.50 per month for it. After 12 months, you have paid $390. You trade in that phone for another and continue paying $32.50 per month.

    In 24 months, you have spent a net total of $780 and you still owe $260 more if you want to own the second phone you purchased.

    So, thanks AT&T. You’ve found a way to trick people into paying almost twice as much for phones.

    To look at it another way. You can fully own two phones for $850, to sell or do with as you wish, or, with this new program, you can essentially rent, not own, those same two phones for $780.

    • airplane

      “they can pay their device off after 20 months”. It’s 20 months not 24 months.

      390 + ( 8 * 32.50) = 650.

      • gtg465x

        Um… I know it takes 20 months. Hence the 32.50 per month. Never said it takes 24 months to pay a device off. My math is impeccable.

        • gtg465x

          I only used 24 months as a standard timeframe to compare the cost of the two approaches.

        • p0k3y

          Good comp indeed! You math is fine.

  • Ben

    I think VZW and ATT were both planning on getting out in front of T-Mobile’s JUMP plan and device purchase plans, and then when JUMP was announced it turned out to be ahead of where VZW and ATT were…err…jumping.

  • d-rock

    I didn’t see it mention anything about contracts.

  • Jason James

    $384 to borrow an S4? What are they smoking? Unless you have money to burn don’t do this just buy the device. Phones aren’t getting that much better year over year to spend ~$400/yr to use one

    • Steve Benson

      I don’t think you fully understand.

      It’s $384 for the first 12 months. If you decide the keep that phone you have 8 more months to pay off the remaining $265 (assuming full retail was $649).

      So essentially, you pay $32 per month, to buy the device at full retail over the course of 20 months.

      It’s all about consumer mentality. With terms like these, AT&T is moving away from subsidies. Instead of paying for this through higher contract prices, you’re paying for it directly through the phone. In the end, this is a better deal for customers.

      • William_Morris

        Except you’re still paying for a baked-in subsidy with their service. It’s paying twice for something you only get once. Not so much a better deal for the customer as it is for carrier.

        • Steve Benson

          Only if you upgrade.

          Personally, I’d just buy outright. I will only buy from Google here on out. Here’s hoping they keep the $299/349 price point for their phones.

          • William_Morris

            I hope they keep the price point too.

      • Jason James

        That’s what I’m was trying to say, don’t pay monthly payments unless you’re buying the device. i would gladly pay monthly with no interest when the note 3 comes out im doing that now with amazon for my note 2 but i wont pay $384 to rent one because i dont believe the note 4 will be that much better that ill give a company free money and walk away with no device. if im paying $400 ill pay the other $300 to own it to add to my collection

  • decidedtochangename

    I think this is also in response to there being less of a reason to upgrade every year and people holding onto their phones longer. Couple that will potentially cheap phones from Google/Moto and carriers are losing a big revenue stream (new phone sales) and key stat for investors (new contracts). There is no killer reason to get a S4 over a S3 for most (non-tech crowd) and they are perfectly happy waiting for the S5 or S6. This is bad news for the carriers and they want to get people back into the upgrade cycle.

    • maxx1987

      i don’t know, i feel like they’ve been transitioning to this scenario for a while with the phase out of “new every two” and then the upgrade only at 24 months. they can make quite a bit more from these plans.

      • decidedtochangename

        I agree. I think they saw that the growth couldn’t possibly continue forever as smartphone users come closer to the saturation point sales would slow unless they can artificially create consumer demand for phones every year.

    • Steve Benson

      This is a big win for consumers. We’re definitely shifting towards the European model which I would prefer.

      Buy your phone outright and remove contracts – that’s the way it should be. Instead of buying a “subsidized” phone and then getting screwed and locked into a contract. Consumers despise two year contracts and the carriers are finally doing away with them.

      • decidedtochangename

        Yes, if Google/Moto can break the current inflated pricing model between the Moto X and the Nexus phones this will be a big deal.

  • WickedToby741

    I think we’ve entered a new era of device leasing.

  • yummy

    All these guys remind me of
    used car salesmen. Shady.

    • EC8CH

      Oh you can’t afford that payment…. let me get you into a lease.

  • droidrazredge

    Once T-Mobile did this I knew Big Red, Big Blue and eventually Big Yellow would follow suit relatively quickly so people do not “JUMP” ships.

  • Noel

    Yup…all these customers on Att and the other major carriers should thank Tmobile. These changes will not be happening if Tmobile did not take the lead. Reason why so many fought hard to prevent a duopoly with Att attempt by way of Billions to swallow Tmo.

    • zurginator

      I really doubt Verizon/AT&T managed to hammer this through legal in less than a week…. if they did I’m more impressed than anything.

  • SkylaC90

    Wow T-Mobile creating all this change with there Revolutionary plans and pricing. now all that’s left is Sprint, the final holdout. I’m starting to fall in love with T-Mobile more and more as each day does on.

    • Leroy Mutumbo

      Really? T-mobile is all full of suck.

    • WickedToby741

      The newly introduced plans from Verizon and AT&T are nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to fool customers into thinking they’re getting a great deal. It works on T-Mobile because they dropped their monthly plan price when they went no contract by $20, essentially the estimated cost to subsidize devices. Verizon and AT&T offer no lower rates for choosing these plans, so you’re paying for TWO devices (the device payment plan and the baked-in subsidy cost) and only getting ONE (you’re still paying for a device subsidy but you aren’t getting one). Don’t be fooled into thinking these plans are a good deal.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        I promise you that if T-Mobile wasn’t going to make money with their new JUMP! plan, it wouldn’t exist. Also, its funny that they are now the most restrictive of these new plans (if the VZW rumors are true, of course) since you can only upgrade twice/yr, whereas you can upgrade as often as you want with AT&T and VZW, and AT&T is even going with $0-down on all their devices, so you would literally walk into the store, swap phones, and walk out with absolutely no charges.

        • Franklin Ramsey

          Walk out with no charges other than a commitment to pay more than you would on T-Mobile. Granted I am on Verizon so I’m not saying T-Mobile is better, just pointing out the flaw in your statement.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            T-Mobile: $100 down + ($20/mo + $10/mo) x 12 mo = $460

            AT&T: $0 down + $32/mo x 12 mo = $384

            There is no savings with T-Mobile. It is more expensive for identical devices.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            You’re forgetting that you’re still paying AT&T’s prices that build subsidies right into the monthly fee on TOP of this, while T-Mobile dropped their monthly plans by $20 to account for the lack of subsidy. That’s an extra $240.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Subsidies are not built-in, that was just carrier doublespeak to make us swallow higher service costs than similarly developed nations. That line only works if your service cost was discounted when your service contract ended, but since it does not, that excuse does not withstand any form of logical scrutiny.

            For equivalent service amounts, T-Mobile undercuts AT&T and Verizon by ~30% & 40% respectively. However, their 3G or greater coverage area is approximately the same respective amount behind each competitor, so in that sense it is not only justified but also in-line with their apparent costs for network maintenance and upgrades.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            You entirely missed all of the chatter that went on when T-Mobile unveiled their Uncarrier plans, didn’t you? That’s exactly the point: that AT&T and Verizon and others failed to stop charging you the subsidy fees, that were built into your bill, when the phone was paid off. Hence why T-Mobile’s deal saved so much money for people who rarely upgraded. On AT&T and Verizon and Sprint you continue paying that extra amount, therefore only striking even if you always upgrade your phone the instant you’re allowed to. Anyone who doesn’t saves money on T-Mobile because they separated that subsidy from the monthly cost.

            This was hotly discussed and debated and understood months ago, and it DOES withstand logical scrutiny when you understand this one, base concept: the other carriers claim they’re subsidizing the cost of the phone, but are in fact just working their customers for extra money. Period. You’re right, it’s not logical if viewed without realizing that it’s purposefully BUILT that way. Blame the carriers for this illogical system, not me (and many others) for noticing it.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Carriers can claim that the additional cost is related to feeding two-headed pigs in Guatemala, but that doesn’t make it the truth. You pay for a device, and you pay for service. They offer a low-cost device as a loss-leader in exchange for an agreement for you to use their service exclusively for a period of time. If you decide to leave before that, you pay a time-adjusted value for the device. If you continue after the term, you continue to pay for service, but gain no benefits beyond the services rendered, which you have been paying for regardless. The idea that not gaining anything is an inherent loss is the logical fallacy being propagated. Not getting a new device, is just that: not getting a new device. The service cost is completely unaffected by whether or not you get a new device, therefore it is completely independent of device cost. To believe any claim to the contrary is to reject the reality of the situation.

            As for T-Mobile lowering their service costs, they quite simply could not charge the same amount for a demonstrably inferior service and continue to operate. Their high-speed data coverage area is proportionally smaller than their competitor’s with reference to their cost differentials. Before the drop in service cost, that was unacceptable, but now it is an equivalent or greater value depending on your individual situation.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            You’re determined to believe that carrier subsidies aren’t part of the monthly fee, even though they, in fact, are and always have been, as that’s the only way they can sell you a $600+ phone for $200 with a two-year contract. But I leave you with one of many, many articles detailing exactly what I’ve said, including the standard industry knowledge that this subsidy is part of the price: http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/16/4528404/att-next-phone-upgrade-plans-a-huge-ripoff

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Every single cost and expense incurred by the operation of Verizon Wireless or AT&T is “part of the service charge”. The operator does not set aside one part of it and say “this amount is dedicated to device subsidies”. They take that as an operating loss, just like every other cost incurred.

            Saying that there is some “subsidy charge” rolled into the service charges is completely useless, because that is not what you are paying for, you are paying for service.

            And please, don’t quote Nilay’s ridiculous rant as “industry knowledge”. I’m usually a fan of their writing, but that article is as inflammatory and disgraceful as anything I’ve ever seen written there.

            So, to sum up: There is NO “subsidy charge”, it is a figment of the imagination (and not the cute purple one at Disney World). Device discounts are an operating loss, granted to the customer to gain a much more valuable revenue assurance for the length of your service agreement. If they stopped offering it tomorrow, it would have absolutely no effect on the cost of service plans, unless Verizon or AT&T specifically wanted it to in order to gain positive PR with absolutely no losses for them. And customers would STILL be stuck paying full price for their device. which for the customer is a net loss.

          • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

            This is the closest I’ve ever come to wanting to ask someone if they’re an employee of one of these companies, as explanation for their apologetics song and dance. But as I hate it when others do that, and I’m sure it’s not actually true, I’m just going to bow out, shake my head to myself, and stick to not supporting these incredibly poor practices; especially this new one that masks a much, much WORSE deal to the customers as some sort of benefit. Like when Verizon tried to make a pool of limited data shared across multiple devices somehow sound like an improvement over unlimited data.

            Have a nice day.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            For the record, no, I do not work for any carrier, I work for a company that manufacturers exceptionally large air filters.

            Also, I am not condoning, excusing, or supporting these new device programs in any way. They are absolutely terrible, one and all. I haven’t agreed with any US carrier changes in a very long time, with the limited exception of T-Mobile’s price drop which, as I’ve said, was most likely a “best of the worst” scenario in their eyes, as keeping their previous pricing was not an option.

            My point can be summarized thusly: subsidies do not in and of themselves inherently increase the cost of any given service plan, they are simply a part of the operating losses covered by the service charges. Ending subsidies would not be in the customer’s favor any more than utilizing one of these rather abhorrent device upgrade programs. Continuing subsidies is only possible because there is no risk and only reward for the carrier.

            Like you, I wish that Verizon and AT&T would end subsidies AND lower their plan prices proportionally to render a net-zero change, but given their market position, a net-zero change is unnecessary for the foreseeable future, unless T-Mobile carves a rather large chunk out of them and forces their hand.

          • Travis Sorenson

            T-mobiles includes all handset protection so add another $120 to at&t’s price for a true apples to apples comparison. Also what wickedtoby said is true. On VZW and AT&t you’re paying for the phone twice. You’re paying for your subsidy on your bill still.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            We are past the carrier excuse of subsidies being included in the cost of service. The cost of service is what it is, since it does not change not matter whether you purchase a discounted device, full price device, or bring your own device. You are getting a discounted device in exchange for a service commitment; if you cancel your contract you are required to pay an ETF, which is approximately equal to the cost differential between the discounted price and the retail price with a built-in device value depreciation amount ($10/mo).

            Now that that is cleared up, we can move forward. I was commenting on the fact that WickedToby was seemingly implying that T-Mobile’s JUMP! device plan was somehow not just as misleadingly expensive as Verizon/AT&T’s programs. While I grant that I missed the device insurance component, the cost difference between the two plans is $3.66 /mo in T-Mobile’s favor with that taken into account if you only upgrade every 12 months on T-Mobile. However, if you upgrade twice, then the cost differential is actually in AT&T’s favor by $4.67/mo. Although at that point you get to use two different handsets during your payment term rather than one, you are also paying a premium for that privilege.

            Note, this discussion is purely in regards to the cost of the device plans, as the cost of the service plans are a fixed value for each competitor.

          • Franklin Ramsey

            Well I was talking about the plan only. Sadly, the Average consumer isn’t going to look at the down payment as part of the cost of the plan. Most will look at the monthly payment costs and decide on that basis and pay the down payment fee. Sadly, I know this from having worked retail.

    • d-rock

      This is why I can’t do T-mobile though :/

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      The new programs from AT&T and Verizon were obviously being planned before T-Mobile introduced JUMP!, not after, so to say that their announcement forced/changed anything is a little off-base. That said, none of these upgrade “deals” so far are superior to purchasing off-contract and reselling when you want a new device, unless you count the time-cost as significant.

  • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ Stynkfysh

    Year 1: Buy on contract -$200
    Year 2: Sell +$300, Buy Full Retail -$650 (net 2 years of new phones is -$550)
    Year 3: Sell +$300, Buy on contract -$200 (net 3 years of new phones is -$450)
    Year 4: Sell +$300, Buy off contract -$650 (net 4 years of new phones is -$800)

    So a new phone each year for 4 years is $200/year.

    If you already buy insurance anyway, T-Mobile’s makes sense. The others make no sense whatsoever. 1 year old top of the line phones also usually go for $300 or more, and if you can wait a month after the release of the top of the line phone, you can buy it used for $550 or less. Basically you can whittle your frequent phone addiction down to much less than $200/year with a tiny bit of patience and a willingness to sell the phone yourself… and take good care of it.

    • Justin l

      Year 1 buy new phone (-200) -200
      Year 2 sell +300 add line buy new phone (-200) then cancel line. (-350) -250
      Year 3 sell +300 upgrade original line (-200) +100
      Over 3 years you pay $350 to get a new phone every year.

      • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ Stynkfysh

        Let’s see:
        Year 1: -$200 New phone
        Year 2: +$300 to sell phone, -$230 cancel line after 12 mo, -$200 new line new phone & -$35 activation (Net 2 years is -$365)
        Year 3: +$300 to sell phone, -$230 cancel line after 12 mo, -$200 new line new phone & -$35 activation (Net 3 years is -$530)
        Year 4: +$300 to sell phone, -$230 cancel line after 12 mo, -$200 new line new phone & -$35 activation(Net 3 years is -$695)

        So yea, looks like your method is $173.75/year, or $26.25 cheaper per year. Only caveat there is that they may run your credit each time you order a new line, which sucks. And hassles with your phone number, which may or may not work out.

    • WickedToby741

      It’s all about risk. It’s just like car buying. As opposed to a lease could you realistically buy a new car and then trade it in every three years and come out ahead of a lease? Most likely, but you’re taking the risk that the resale value will be what you think it will be. Could be lower, could be higher. With a lease the dealer is taking the burden of the risk of resale value. Same here. It’s no longer a risk to you how much that phone is worth after a year and you don’t have to hassle with trying to sell it. Now that privilege isn’t free, but a lot of people are willing to make that trade off.

      • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ Stynkfysh

        Fair enough. I will say that I have put a modified version of this in practice since the OG Droid came out and I get 4-6 phones per year for less than the $200/year. If you live in a metro area there is usually someone who needs to pay rent, overspent, or used their upgrade to make a little $ but are not so savvy. I guess what I am saying is that I have put this in practice for years and am not just touting math. But you are right, there is a degree of risk involved not present when buying new every time.

  • DanSan

    i love how one carrier does something and everyone else the next week jumps all over it. the one im still waiting for is one carrier doing completely unlimited data, no throttling or caps (tmobile already did it) and everyone to follow. lets get back to unlimited!!!

    ill still enjoy my verizon unlimited data for now :)

    • New_Guy

      Sprint just jumped on board with that one.

    • Michael Hildebrand

      Tmobile doesn’t have unlimited. Their plan that’s labeled “unlimited” is a 9.5GB cap. I know, I just signed up for it. I probably won’t care as I don’t use quite that much data, but it still pissed me off, just marketing deception. They might say “only a small percentage of customers will get close to that” but really they’re marketing that plan to advanced users, who ARE the ones who will care.

      At least they’re soft caps. however, another sucky thing I’ve learned with Tmobile is you get throttled to 2G, which, unlike the other carriers, is UNUSABLE. Can’t even make a google search. It is, though, able to sync emails.

      Tmo is still lightyears ahead of the other carriers in terms of value.

      • SUMmaro400ex

        I also just signed up for T-Mobile and was assured that it was truly unlimited with absolutely no throttling at all. Where did you hear about this 9.5GB limit?

        • SUMmaro400ex

          Just signed into my account and checked usage. It says that I have used 1.1 GB / Unlimited with Up to 9765.6 GB of high-Speed Data. That’s nearly 10 Terabytes of data a month. I’m ok with nearly 10 TB of data a month as a soft cap

          • William_Morris

            Something tells me if you use that much data in a month, they’ll make it a hard cap. And probably say they can’t provide you service anymore….

          • SUMmaro400ex

            Well the good news is that until we start seeing LTE-Advanced I don’t think you can even hit that limit with continuous streaming.
            12Mbps = 12/8 MBps = 1.5 MBps
            1.5 MBps * 60 seconds = 90 MBpm
            90 MBpm * 60 minutes = 5400 MBph
            5400 MBph *24 hours per day= 129,600 MBpd
            129,600 MBpd *31 days per month = 4,017,600 MB per month
            4,017,600 MB per month / 1024 MB per GB = 3,923.4 max GB per month
            3,923.4 << 9,765.6 GB per month allotted

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Their theoretical max speed on LTE is 70Mbps, which is 5.83x your listed value, so theoretically you could hit the cap.

            Real-world, it is exceptionally unlikely you will come within 20% of that cap.

        • Michael Hildebrand

          Wow you two are right, I completely misread my tmobile account online. I thought I saw 9765.6 MB, but now I do see it’s GB.

          What a relief! Thanks for pointing it out.

    • WickedToby741

      Or drop plan prices for going no-contract. I’m actually fine with paying for what you’re using (tiered data), buy if I don’t sign a contact for Verizon or AT&T, I’m still paying for a device subsidy that I’m not using.

    • zurginator

      I seriously doubt either Verizon or AT&T hammered this through legal in a week.

    • Bob G

      Actually, AT&T announced this day for announcement a few weeks back, but then T-Mobile jumped them by doing their event last week, and then the Verizon leak came out yesterday. Pretty much they all had the same idea to move towards this kind of money grab, and T-Mobile and Verizon just one-upped AT&T and beat them to the punch.

      • Alan Fortte

        I’m honestly wondering what Sprint’s going to do, they just announced new plans so maybe it settles in with what they’re planning. Has Verizon announced a press conference about VZ Edge yet?

  • Omar Amer

    this whole thing just seems like a knee-jerk reaction to tmobile’s plans. but eh, what do I know. might be all just crazy coincidence that they are all being announced within a week of the first announcement. at this point, we are just waiting for Sprint to announce their upgrade often plan.

    also 12 months? really? yeesh, that seems rather poor.

    • Michael Hildebrand

      Well, they recently revealed their “knee-jerk reaction” new plans too, before Verizon’s leak and At&t. I don’t think it had the upgrades like the other carriers though. So now people are going to be “waiting” to see Sprint’s “new plans”, and Sprint’s gonna be thinking “Crap. We just released our new plans, and nobody even noticed.” They’re going to have to do better lol

  • EC8CH

    These schemes are all just the carriers’ way of getting us to all still buy our phones through them even without contracts. What we as consumers need is it to break the carriers’ control over hardware.

    I wonder if I’ll see it in my lifetime???

    • hkklife

      Apple *COULD* have turned the market on its ear with the initial iPhone launch and really could (and should) have done it once AT&T’S exclusivity ran out. The only way they’ve really shown any balls is by keeping bloatware off of the iPhone and having a streamlined update process.

      Google still conceivably COULD do it if they could ever get any momentum going with the Nexus line and TMO makes some serious strides in improving their coverage.. Heck, pricing the Nexus Experience GS4 & One less than the equivalent carrier versions (even $50) would have been a good start. But I think all of the handset manufacturers, at least the ones in the top 3 or 4 of marketshare (Apple, HTC, LG & Samsung) like the carrier exclusivity/certification/subsidy process since it’s basically low-hanging fruit. It enables them to be a layer or two removed from having to deal with the consumer directly and puts some of the support and marketing burden on the carriers’ shoulders. Remember, the carriers are the hardware manufacturer’s REAL customers, not us.

      The guys who really get squeezed out are the smaller players such as Sony, RIM/BB, Huawei, ZTE, Kyocera etc.who are left fighting for mostly prepaid carrier scraps. I do not see this ever changing, at least not in the next decade or two. Americans have gotten too spoiled by their ”free” smartphones.

      • EC8CH

        You’re exactly right. The hardware manufactures with the largest marketshare benefit by having their and all their competitor’s retail pricing set by the carriers so they don’t have to compete on price.

        That and carrier’s interference with the software and update process are the biggest problems as I see it with the current system.

    • noc007

      I think you will and it’ll be sooner that you expect. Radio chips are in the works that take the existing GSM technologies (EDGE, HSPA, LTE, etc) and run them on more bands than today. I expect within the next couple of years, there’ll be phones that can run LTE on all of the available bands, not just a select few. One can already use an international phone on AT&T and T-Mobile, but they lack LTE and are missing the AWS band (1700MHz) for T-Mobile.

      Both VZW and Sprint are moving to exclusively LTE and will be shutting down their CDMA networks in a few years. I just don’t know if they’ll use old fassioned GSM for voice; I suspect it’ll be VoLTE and wont have any backwards compatibility with the older GSM technologies like HSPA+. Though, Sprint might end up using an incompatible LTE technology on at least one band as a result of Clearwire and that will be a problem for them.

      • EC8CH

        So are the carriers just going to give up on dictating retail pricing, or will they have some scheme to keep control, or are these financing deals their plan?

        Will be interesting to see if the market frees up once VZW moves to VOLTE.

  • http://twitter.com/tarund TarunD

    Infectious greed

    • Professor Tardo

      You should start your own cellular carrier company and give your phones and service away for free. That would teach those greedy corporations.

      • http://twitter.com/tarund TarunD

        Technically, it’s not their phones. The only thing these corporations should be working on is providing and improving their service for as many customers as possible. Forget providing phones, focus on the service. You know, kinda like how ISP providers bring you their service but you’re free to use your own equipment.

        And maybe I will start my own carrier and change this greedy model. That ambition alone is more powerful than your useless, sarcastic comment.

        • Yu So Dum

          He or she never said it was their phones. If you are going to start your own company you may want to learn to read first, Jeantel Jr.

  • landale

    Umm so let me get this straight. So before you would pay $200 for your phone and upgrade every 24 months. Now you pay $350-400 over 12 months and they let you trade in your phone for a new one all while having the exactly same monthly plan? At least T-Mobile decreases your monthly plan when you pay full price for the phone, ATT is simply couching a price increase around some new upgrade plan and hope people are dumb enough to fall for it.

    • pastaguy

      This! I wish more customers would actually pay attention. I’m trying to educate my family on the stupidity of these carriers.

      From their FAQ – Your monthly rate plan and service does not change after you sign up. Installment plan charges are separate from your monthly service.

      • WickedToby741

        The only benefit is no contract. But that’s hardly worth paying a device payment plan AND the baked-in device subsidy. Now if they make this available for their GoPhone plan I could see more appeal.

        • Wolfpack93

          Actually, no benefit. You are effectively signing a 1-year contract while you pay off the cost of the phone in installments. The only (slight) benefit is not having to update your plan.

          • agentorange1985

            You don’t have to update your plan with any contract with AT&T

    • LiterofCola

      Can’t have everything.

    • Butters619

      Exactly! Basically AT&T is saying your phone loses nearly $400 in value in the first year, which just isn’t true. Plus they don’t discount your plan the subsidy of the phone. My god.

      • agentorange1985

        Awesome. I did a similar breakdown this morning after reading the Engadget article. I work at AT&T, and I know this is going to get pushed hard, so I’m hoping customers don’t do the math. LOL

  • DJ SPY

    This is like leasing a car.

    • Justin W

      Except you pay over 50% of it and AT&T can still sell it for around 70%.

      • WickedToby741

        You aren’t forced into these plans. You can buy a device for full price as often as you like and resell it for whatever it’s worth.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        They probably pay ~15% of device cost for refurbishing services, so they won’t make much on resale.

  • Mike

    These plans are totally worthless. Buy a phone at full retail, then sell it yourself when you want a new one.

    • hkklife

      I wonder if we may see the eventual end of even being able to BUY a new phone at full retail? You know the carriers hate seeing anyone bring their own device sourced elsewhere. That is, could there be a 6-month moratorium from when new handsets are launched before someone can buy it full retail price unless you are enrolled into one of these ”deal” plans? We saw this before with some of the earlier iPhone launches (sale only with a new contract or renewal). And the local VZW store in 2011 refused to sell me a Bionic at full price and advised me to just ”add a line”.

      • Justin W

        If they want to lose money, then probably. I won’t buy another phone on-contract, and if one manufacturer decided to do that, I wouldn’t support them, I’d go somewhere else.

    • cgalyon

      I was thinking about that this morning. Say you buy a $700 phone at full retail. A year later you sell the phone to buy a new one and probably get around 50% of the original value (so $350). At that point you’re $350 in the hole. Now you buy your new device for $700. You’re $1050 in the hole.

      Using one of these new plans, you pick up the device and begin making payments of $30/mo, so at the end of the year you’re $360 in the hole and you trade in for a new device and simply continue making payments.

      Two years out you’ve spent $720 with the plan vs. $1050 without the plan. I figure there’s got to be something I’m overlooking here…

      • Butters619

        You forgot to consider that you still have to pay for the phone you pick up at 12 months.

        The easier way to look at this is by how much you pay in installments. Would your phone lose 12*$32 = $384 or more in value in the first year? If you think yes, then this plan would be worth it. But honestly most top tier phones don’t lose that much value in a year. But it does save you from having to resell yourself.

        Oh wait!! Not even. The don’t offer you a discount on your plan to cover the subsidy! This is insanely a rip off!!!

      • Butters619

        Some math to show you. Since the plans are the same price regardless of which way you go, we will not count that towards the price of the phone.

        Plan 1 (subsidy): $200 for a SGS4. At 12 months you sell your SGS4 for $350. You are now up $150. Buy a new phone for $650. You have now spent $500 total for two phones in a year.

        Plan 2 (Next): No down payment. $32* 12 = $384. At 12 months you trade it but still have to pay ($32*20) $640 for the new phone. For two phones you end up paying $1024.

        That is a difference of $724 during the 2 year contract. Again, because the plan pricing is the same with both you can compare it this way.

        • aaa

          no no no no no. You don’t continue paying for the old phone when you get the new phone. It is not *20, it is *12

          • Butters619

            But you have to pay for the new phone correct?

          • rc137

            The way I read it, signup for installment plan. Get Phone #1, make 12 payments. Then trade in Phone #1 and get Phone #2 with new set of 12 payments. Or keep Phone #1 and make additional 20 payments to pay off installment plan (total cost for Phone #1 would be $1024). Or continue to trade in phones every 12 months. Cost of 2 phones in 24 months is $768. But what happens if new model hasn’t been released yet and you want to wait? I don’t think this is a good deal. If you decide to keep Phone #1 after 12 months, you have to then make 20 more payments. Which means you will have Phone #1 for 32 for almost 3 years and have paid more than retail price. Better to take the subsidized plan. If you want to always have the latest phone, end up paying additional $368 for privilege of doing it a year sooner.

          • rc137

            “for 32 for almost 3 years”

            for 32 months (almost 3 years)

          • guest

            I think he means you will pay for the 20 months if you keep the new phone to its pay off date.

          • Butters619

            No. From the sounds of it, when you get the new phone the 20 month payment plan restarts. That is where that comes from.

  • achilles

    I think this sounds really good. I’m on Verizon and would be damned happy to get this!

    • SUMmaro400ex

      You would be happy to pay an extra $32 a month per phone? If you hate money so much, I would be glad to take some off your hands.

      • Jordan

        You have to take into consideration there is no down payment on the device. If our bills didn’t already have a cost for the device built into it(like how T-Mobile doesn’t) this would be a pretty okay gig.

        • cortesjues

          but the problem (as you stated) is that the bills do already have the price built in, so you are basically paying double

          • Justin W

            Paying twice for the same device. Always a fun one.

          • SUMmaro400ex

            Which is exactly why they “let” you give them back your phone for a new one after “50%” which is actually 100% due to the whole paying double thing.

          • cortesjues

            Exactly, you pay the price for the whole phone and then they take it from you if you want another, or they make you pay more so that you can eventually own it

    • Omar Amer

      verizon has something similar-ish, but it starts next month.

  • Terrence Adams

    I think Verizon needs to reconsider that finance charge since the other carriers don’t have one

    • Richard Yarrell

      Truthfully Verizon and At&t are both drastically overrated and extremely useless. Tmobile rules period.

      • EatUrCrap

        I hate so much about Verizon, but I love their 4G LTE.

        • michael arazan

          Slave to the VZW $30 a month unlimited here too, only thing keeping me

          • Mallahet

            Same here. Verizon 3g is TURRRIBLE. CDMA tech is awful.

          • buckley101

            You’re obviously not any type of engineering if you think CDMA technology is awful.

          • Bigsike

            Omg right? I can literally see it getting slower by the day/week it’s incredible right now, 8/3 is about right on the money here in Cleveland.

          • Stephen

            I’m in central jersey. It’s a pretty densely populated area, and i still get 30/15. I guess seeing the cell tower from my window is an advantage. The only reasons i’m still with verizon are: unlimited data, and on a family plan and still don’t pay for my service (parents)

          • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

            In central Florida I’m still not really seeing any difference yet.. I can still WiFi tether to my Xbox 360, MBP streaming music and my N7 without any lag!

          • KleenDroid

            I agree. Back when the thunderbolt was the only show in town the speeds were Amazing.

          • Jarred Sutherland

            LOL 8/3 being “almost” 3G speeds .. you’re insane. Perhaps 3G on AT&T but the MAX CDMA was capable of was about 2Mbit down and a lot less up.

          • http://profiles.google.com/gallimichael Michael G. Galli

            That is NOWHERE near ’3G” speeds. EVDO Rev. A maxed out in real world at about 1.5 MBPS on VZW.

      • LiterofCola

        You’re an idiot

        • Richard Yarrell

          Go stick it buffoon

          • squiddy20

            Dude. You’re 50+ years old and that’s the best you can come up with? Seriously, are you retarded?

      • squiddy20

        And yet Verizon has inarguably the most voice coverage, the most LTE coverage, and the highest customer ratings. Can’t say the same of T-Mobile…

      • trophynuts

        Turd Mobile rules nothing. It’s half a$$ coverage only works for 50% of the states. lucky for you that you obviously live in one of the 8 cities that Turd Mobile works in. I don’t care what their maps show. We all know Coverage maps are BS anyways on all carriers.

        • Sqube

          You gotta go with http://www.opensignal.com. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot more honest. Real people reporting real signal.

        • Dominick White

          To be honest none of the four major cellphone companies in the United States are any good, each find a way to f you over. But at least With at and t and Verizon.. I get usable phone services out of the deal.

        • Richard Yarrell

          You are just as clueless and retarded as Verizon. You make us T-mobile folk laugh real hard at you. You’re probably walking around with a silly Droid phone like all crappy Verizon customers.

      • Sqube

        VZW’s LTE coverage might not be the fastest, but you know what it is? Everywhere. VZW and AT&T couldn’t get away with charging this much for this long unless they really had that much coverage.

        And for those of us who take road trips or go a decent bit away from metro areas… yeah, T-Mobile can’t have my money yet.

      • Ben

        I love my T-Mobile service in my area, though I wander into GPRS land a bit. In many of those same GPRS areas, VZW is still LTE. It’s incredibly expensive, but they really do rule the roost.
        I agree on ATT though. No merit to their size.

      • Dominick White

        I will take being able to use my smartphone, than paying less and not being able to use my phone in most places.. . What t-mobile need to make their network use able for more people…. You get what you pay for and i like paying for good services.

      • Josh Shaw

        Yea having coverage in my city is useless, apparently so useless T-Mo, and Sprint don’t have any.

        • Richard Yarrell

          Stop fronting you don’t live in a city. you live in a Verizon tent in the middle of nowhere…

          • squiddy20

            And you would know because you A) live with him, B) know him personally, or C) looked him up like the creeper you are on the Internet? What a joke.

          • Josh Shaw

            *AT&T Tent.

    • Guest

      With AT&T, you’d pay $32*12 = $384 and have to give the phone back!

      Be happy with your fee.

    • Butters619

      With AT&T you’d have to pay $32 * 12 = $384 and still give the phone back!

      Be happy with your fee!

    • Richard Yarrell

      At&t sucks rotten eggs….