July 16, 2013
AT&T Offers Smartphone Upgrades Every Year With Next Plan
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
For those mobile phone users who are always looking for the "next big thing," AT&T has the answer.
On Tuesday the number two American carrier announced "AT&T Next," an upgrade program that will allow customers to purchase a new smartphone or tablet device every 12 months without a down payment, and with no activation or upgrade fees.
Beginning nationwide on July 26 consumers can join the program, where customers can purchase a smartphone or tablet without a down payment. To take part customers will instead agree to pay monthly installments for the device, but after 12 months they can trade it in, and upgrade to a brand new device; again with no down payment.
Alternatively customers can keep using the device and have no payments after 20 months.
AT&T Next is being made available to new AT&T customers as well as existing customers who are upgrade eligible. AT&T Next is available for any current smartphone or tablet in AT&T's selection of devices, while the interest-free monthly device installments will range from $15 to $50 based on the device selected. The cost of the device is broken down into 20 parts.
"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," Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility, said in a statement.
The AT&T Next announcement comes a week after rival T-Mobile, currently the fourth placed carrier in the American market, announced its Jump program, which will enable customers to upgrade their handsets as they want - or up to twice a year as soon as six months from enrollment.
"At some point, big wireless companies made a decision for you that you should have to wait two years to get a new phone for a fair price. That's 730 days of waiting. 730 days of watching new phones come out that you can't have. Or having to live with a cracked screen or an outdated camera," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US in a statement. "We say two years is just too long to wait. Today, we're changing all that with the launch of JUMP! Now, customers never have to worry about being stuck with the wrong phone. And, yes - it's really as good as it sounds."
VZ Edge will reportedly offer a plan that allows users to upgrade to a new handset once 50 percent of the previous device is paid off. The new plan won't require any upfront costs, upgrade fees or even a service contract.
These rumors follow Verizon's cancelling of an option that let customers upgrade to a new phone every 20 months. Verizon currently offers the Device Payment Program, which according to the Verizon FAQ, "is a payment plan that lets you purchase a new full priced smartphone, tablet or the Samsung Galaxy Camera (TM) and pay for it in 12 equal monthly installments. With this option, you can start using your smartphone, tablet or camera right away with a lower upfront cost."
It is unclear if the rumored VZ Edge is an extension or a full replace of that current Device Payment Program, but it has been reported that VZ Edge will go live on August 25.