AT&T announced today that it will rollout its own yearly upgrade program, in what seems to be a direct response to T-Mobile’s new ‘Jump’ program that was announced last week.
The new service, dubbed ‘AT&T Next,’ will begin nationwide on July 26th. Customers will be able to get a new smartphone or tablet every year without a down payment, activation fee, upgrade fee or financing fee. Sounds great, except just like with T-Mobile’s Jump plan, you have to pay a monthly fee for the perk for the first 20 months.
Here’s AT&T’s summary of Next:
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.
The monthly fee varies depending on the device that you purchase. AT&T says that the monthly payment on a Samsung Galaxy S4 will yank an extra $32 a month out of your pocket, on top of whatever service plan feeds you have. After 12 months of making the $32 payment, you can trade in your device to upgrade to a new smartphone. You can also just keep making payments for 20 months until the device is paid off in full.
Basically, you’ll be able to pay an extra $375-$400 a month to have a new smartphone every year, without having to drop $200 when you get it. The initial costs are lower, but you don’t get to keep your smartphone if you keep upgrading it, so it’s kind of like you’re just renting smartphones at yearly intervals.
What do you guys think? Does AT&T Next entice you, or will you keep with the standard biennial iPhone upgrade? Tell us in the comments.