AT&T's Next program offers yearly phone upgrades, competes with T-Mobile JUMP!

AT&T's Next program offers yearly phone upgrades, competes with T-Mobile JUMP!

Summary: T-Mobile is pushing the boundaries of wireless carrier offerings and that looks to be encouraging AT&T and Verizon to respond. AT&T announced the Next program with no fees and yearly upgrade incentives.

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AT&T's Next program offers yearly phone upgrades, competes with T-Mobile JUMP!
(Image: Nokia)

Last week T-Mobile announced their new JUMP! program designed to let people upgrade their phones every six months rather than every two years. AT&T just announced their similar offering, called AT&T Next with a rumor that Verizon has a program coming too, called VZ Edge.

The new AT&T Next program looks to differ from the T-Mobile JUMP! offering by doing away with the initial down payment and other fees (activation, upgrade, and financing) and allowing upgrades once a year rather than every six months. Given that people pay a monthly fee for their subsidized phones anyway, the AT&T Next program looks almost like a no brainer where the T-Mobile one requires a bit more spreadsheet analysis to verify its value.

It's good to see AT&T offering a no-interest equipment installation plan option with no down payment, but the reason I go with T-Mobile is that they also have lower priced plans to go with their no-contract policy.

The timing of this is great for those looking to purchase the new Nokia Lumia 1020 as that device launches on the 26th and this plan starts that same day.

The rumored Verizon option may launch in August with payments for devices spread over 12 months rather than 20 or 24 months as seen on AT&T and T-Mobile. We haven't seen any rumor about Sprint offering such a device incentive plan yet.

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones, AT&T

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19 comments
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  • Have they lowered rates?

    Looking at their press announcement they mention as an example that an S4 will run you an extra $32/month under this plan. I've seen people saying AT&T's (and Verizon's) rates are so expensive because they build the cost of device subsidies into their monthly charges.

    Now that they're explicitly charging an extra $32/month (or some similar figure based on the specific phone chosen) will they be lowering their rates? Otherwise it seems like it could get VERY expensive!

    As you pointed out, T-mobile's monthly rates are cheaper than AT&Ts because the subsidy is separate. It almost feels like AT&T is double dipping, or am I misinterpreting this?
    TwilightSky
    • They havent lowered rates

      You are correct. AT&T and Verizon are simply doing this to muddy the waters. They want you to think they offer a similar plan to T-mobile. In reality, T-mobile's is a much better value.

      AT&T and Verizon both keep charging you the subsidized rate (more expensive) on top of charging you FULL price for the phone, but simply breaking that full price into monthly installments. Verizon really screws you good, cus they even charge you a finance fee every month.
      piaband@...
    • T-Mobile has LTE and it's still cheaper

      T-Mobile is definitely the best value and all competitors are now changing their plans due TMo's aggressiveness. Sprint changed their Unlimited Everything plan, AT&T has Next, but TMo is still cheaper and now they have LTE covering most major areas.

      For phones it's still cheaper to buy your phone from Craigslist or eBay if you have the money. If not then you can at least pay off your phone quicker with TMo and then pay only $80 per month vs $130 per month forever with At&t and Verizon. That's a $600 yearly savings or the cost of a nice vacation.
      Sim Lash
      • Absolutely correct

        I dumped Sprint and went to T-Mobile (because I Verizon is WAAAY too expensive and AT&T looks cheap until they nickle & dime you for text & data). To show why T-Mobile's JUMP! is better than the rest consider my situation:

        3 phones 1 w/unlimited 4G which includes hotspot ($20 extra)
        Unlimited minutes, text and data across all lines
        ==============================
        $170/month.

        And that includes tax and $40 phone payment plan (two Galaxy Note 2s)

        Same thing on AT&T?

        2 phones on Family Plan = $120/month
        Add another line = $10/month
        Shared data plan (let's be conservative, shall we) 6GB = $90/month
        PLUS $35/line to share that 6GB = $90/month
        ===============================
        $310/month

        AND you're under contract (http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/data-plans.html#fbid=IvZfihI4o_L?tab2)

        Granted, my other 2 lines cap the 4G at 500MB. But even if I wanted to up each line to unlimited 4G, it would cost me only another $40 total. Add $10/line for the JUMP! program and my total bill would still be only $240. That's still $70 cheaper/month.

        No matter how you cut it, AT&T is a ripoff. And mind you, that $170 a month I pay get dropped to $130 if I choose to pay off my two phones early.

        There's really no comparison. T-Mobile wins by light years.
        tallbruva
  • okay so...

    What about the unlimited data plans? I guess they're not going to cover those huh?
    slickjim
  • Learning from each other

    Yes, it is great to see these companies are learning from each other to push the boundaries of wireless industry. I think some of the organizations learn from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint how to be honest, ethical organization as well.

    Here is a general statement for any organization where there are corrupt directors (John), those organization will only fail no matter how industry turns out. These corrupt directors are doing the most discriminating act right under the nose of great leaders. By giving most hard working employees job to their buddies, everyone in organization knows about the corruption and discrimination, but who is going to open up their mouth against such corruption and discrimination and put their own job at risk.

    Anyway point is it will be nice if all these organization learn from each other how to be ethical and less discriminating will make it more better outcome.
    JeffCry
  • the jump is good for att verizon

    It actually reinforces carrier lock in via devices, a concept they both cling to.
    GrabBoyd
  • Double dipping wee is the AT&T

    No change in plan pricing = Double dipping the phone price.
    zdnet-check
    • Double dipping or good value?

      Well, you'll still need that spreadsheet to tell for sure if this is a good deal for you, or just double-dipping. Basically, the AT&T plan eliminates the up-front payment you make for the device, as well as any one-time upgrade fees/charges. Instead, some additional monthly amount (which will depend on the device you're getting) will be charged, for 20 months, with the option to change to a new device (and probably new monthly charge) after 12 months. So you'd need to compare 12 and 20 months worth of additional payments vs. the one-time subsidized device cost and one-time fees. And the dollar value of your desire to keep up with the latest devices.
      bradhansen@...
  • Overpriced Phones

    Until they start lowering the price of phones it is just a numbers game. Can't imagine an S4 costing more than $200 to make but they sell it of over $600.....
    Scott Yeager
    • An S4 for $600?! That's Just Crazy!

      I would think that only those mindless samsung zombies that just have to have the latest model would be interested in that. At least the iFans get a quality product without the bloatware.
      Gr8Music
    • You're pretty close

      According to IHS iSuppli, $236 for the BOM on the S4, the S3 was a bit cheaper at $205. But that is strictly materials, if you think just anybody off the street can design, engineer, and program a phone for free, you're a little more off.
      mrmessma
  • Missing logic

    "The rumored Verizon option may launch in August with payments for devices spread over 12 months rather than 20 or 24 months as seen on AT&T and T-Mobile."

    What happens when you spread the payments out over 20 to 24 months, and keep getting phones every 6 to 12 months? You'd have to use Obama math to pay for them. I won't use T-Mobile, as their coverage sucks (where I live), and the last time I looked they charged you upfront for the phone.
    Troll Hunter J
    • My Daughter

      My daughter's phone went wacky on her, so she jumped on the Samsung S-4 bandwagon, she is paying it off in two years. You don't have to pay it all off upfront, however you can pay more than the minimum monthly payment. [We have been T-Mobile customers since 2002.]
      dhays
      • Being their coverage is not great where

        I live, I haven't looked at their lineup lately. But I do remember their versions of phones being more expensive (unsubsidized)
        Troll Hunter J
    • You are incorrect

      You don't have to pay full price for the phone. You can get on a payment plan which costs about $20/month. The difference is, once you're done paying, your bill drops by $20. AND you're not under contract.

      Coverage is another story. But T-Mobile supports WiFi Calling. If you're on your wifi network, it will make calls, send txt, etc over your wireless network. I have no cell coverage in my basement and it WiFi Calling works great. At no additional cost, mind you.
      tallbruva
  • Good deal for the primary carriers

    This is a huge step into showing the concept T-Mobile has been trying to do this whole time. AT&T and Verizon jumped on the bandwagon to try and compete with T-Mobile, whom has been doing this for a year now. The idea for T-mobile is lower the price per month, so that getting a phone and breaking it into payments seems plausible and not over costly. This, with the other carriers, is not what they're trying to do. AT&T and Verizon will still charge the same monthly prices, along with a non-unlimited data package. The cards were definitely dealt for T-Mobile whom seems to be the strongest carrier right now. I have been and will continue to be a loyal customer to this company.
    tjbodden
  • the whole upgrade path –

    for all carriers I’ve seen – is still working on such a dated model. I will gladly pay up front to skip through the red tape
    freemangeoff