'AT&T Next' Upgrade Program Counters T-Mobile's Jump!
AT&T today announced AT&T Next, a program that allows AT&T customers to upgrade to new devices once per year with no down payment. For example, a customer interested in a device such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 would, under the AT&T Next program, pay nothing up front, but would have to tack $32 in monthly payments onto their service plan. A $70 monthly service plan with the $32 device payment would total $102 per month. After 12 months, the customer could choose to trade-in their device and upgrade to a new device at no extra cost other than the revised monthly payments based on the retail price of the new hardware. Or, the customer could make 20 total payments in order to fully own the device. In the case of the GS4, for example, 20 payments of $32 totals $640, which is just $9 less than the full retail price of the phone. According to AT&T, most devices will carry a monthly cost between $15 and $50 depending in the retail price, and the AT&T Next program can be applied to most smartphones or tablets. The program itself does not require any extra fees to join, and the phones are offered with no financing costs. The AT&T Next plan is a direct response to recent moves made by T-Mobile, including Jump!, which allows customers to upgrade to new devices every six months. T-Mobile's Jump! program, however, requires a $10 monthly fee and a six-month waiting period before it can be used the first time. AT&T customers may also still chose AT&T's traditional subsidized pricing model with two-year contracts, or purchase devices outright for full price at any time. AT&T Next goes into effect nationwide beginning July 26.
It's less of an upgrade program