The more I think about AT&T Next program, mind you I’ve one device signed up with AT&T Next, I feel it is a scam or money extortion program. If you signup with 2 year contract – you pay subsidized price for your phone/device. Let us say you are paying $199.99+taxes for your new shiny smartphone with 2 year contract. And let us think you chose for 4GB data (AT&T suggested) and unlimited talk and text, which comes to $110+other charges including universal connectivity, taxes, insurance etc. which could be anywhere between 125 to 150 based on the options you chose in addition to one time activation fee $35. Let us fix at $130 per month as your bill for calculation purpose. That makes you are paying $130*24 (24 month bill)+$199.99(plus taxes for subsidized phone and I will round it to $214 keeping 7% as tax)+ $35 (One time activation fee) and that comes to $3369 stretched for 2 years. Now if you have signed up with AT&T Next program and chose the same 4GB plan with unlimited talk and text, let us see where are end up paying. They charge $35 activation fee of course and you get the same new Smartphone. Of course you are tied to 20 month instead of 24 months (as in contract) and you have to pay $32 (plus taxes which would be come $34.24 if you take the same 7% tax, of course they collect the tax upfront) for the same iPhone or the value they say as per your device selection. That keeps you at $130*20+$34.24*20+$35 = $3284.8. Since we are comparing 24 months vs. 20 months, let us fill the 4 month balance on those two $130*4=$520. Since you already paid for your device in 20 months and also the activation of that is already paid, we don’t have to add this to the above price of AT&T Next. With this it comes to $3284.8+$520 = $3784.8. You only save if you are upgrading your immediately at the end of 20 month period otherwise you end up paying more while continue using their network without contract. If you decide to upgrade to Next device, you would be saving less than $100 in 20 months or a Venti size latte at Starbucks store per month. Most of the time if you visit a store, they let you upgrade little early in 2 year contract. If you could negotiate with the rep and store manager there, they will let you go to new device in 22 to 23 months in 2 year contract, and of course you are again into new contract though.

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Mobile Gadget Geek. My mobility started with HP Jornada Handheld PC LX320. I currently own and use various Windows Phones, iOS devices, Android devices and HP Touchpad.

4 COMMENTS

  1. To me, this is definitely extortion program. If you look at the price you are paying for the device in subsidized contract, you pay less even though you are paying a bit more at the beginning because the monthly fee to use their network is same and you are not carrying the monthly additional fee for the device. The second program is hire to purchase, which would let you end up paying more. If you subtract the part you are paying for device in both cases, you see you end up paying more for the device in AT&T Next program.

  2. Yep. And as you said, this all assumes you are purchasing a new phone at exactly the 20 month mark. Say goodby to picking up the latest and greatest. Either your new phone will already be out for several months when you qualify. Or you have to wait several months, increasing your investment. Having all the stars align only happens in the movies.

    And what makes that $130 plan so much better than the $50-$60 off contract plan? Bank that, plus the Next fees, and you can buy a phone, tablet and laptop every 20 months.

  3. I don’t see any reason for the Next program.
    Since I am a long time ATT customer, I pay a monthly fee. That fee does not change if I get a subsidized device $100 to $300 upfront,or if I choose the Next program $600 to $750 over 20 months.
    Do not choose Next.
    If this is the type of buying program you are looking for, maybe try T-Mobile?

  4. My wife and I are still on the grandfathered Unlimited plan and become eligible for phone upgrades at 20 months already. I’ve bought a couple of off-contract phones which were cool and better than what AT&T offered at the time, but in the end they didn’t save me any money on the monthly bill rate. It was like I was still paying for a subsidized phone anyway.

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