AT&T Changes Phone Upgrade Plans


The days of having to stick with your cell phone for two years may be numbered. AT&T has just announced their new AT&T Next program which will allow users to upgrade their phones each year, which follows a similar recent announcement by T-Mobile. But this isn’t generosity on their part. Users will need to pay for this new plan by adding a fee each month. The old model offered phones at a discount as long as you agreed to use the same phone for two years (that option will still be available).

In some ways this new plan is similar to leasing a car. You pay every month for a set time frame (1-4 years) and at the end you turn in the car and get a new one, but you never stop paying. Some people prefer this model in that their car (phone) is always the latest model and they never have to worry about repairs. However, the monthly fees for the service will vary by phone model and will range from $15 to $50 but there will ne no upfront charge for each new device (it covers tablets too). Thus, instead of paying $199 for your next iPhone, you might, instead pay $30 per month ($360 after the first year) but be able to get the next iPhone as soon as it comes out for no money upfront.

In the long run, more choice for the consumer is always a good thing as is more competition between companies. However, you need to do the math before you sign and see what plan will work best for you, based on your needs and your budget.

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