AT&T Line

AT&T Line

Following major announcements from T-Mobile and Sprint (and rumors about big device upgrade changes at Verizon Wireless), AT&T has made its “network related” announcement that it teased last week. The company has introduced a new program named “AT&T Next.” Similar to T-Mobile’s new “Un-carrier” offering, AT&T Next allows users to upgrade their smartphone or tablet device each year (T-Mobile, though, allows this to happen twice a year).

“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,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility.

In a change from the typical ways of purchasing a phone upfront with no contract or at a subsidy with a contract, AT&T Next allows a customer to purchase a smartphone or tablet with $0 down payment and pay for the device with a monthly cost. For example, according to AT&T, a customer who wants a Samsung Galaxy S4 can purchase the device with no down payment and pay an extra $32 per month (on top of their standard monthly service bill). More details below:

AT&T says that monthly device pricing will vary by product, but the range is between $15 and $50 per month. AT&T says that all devices in its current arsenal are supported, and this is for both current (upgrade-elgible) and new customers. T-Mobile’s new “Uncarrier” approach offers a similar payment strategy, but AT&T’s program lets you pay off the device in 20 months (versus T-Mobile’s plans that are built around 24 months). Verizon’s upcoming Edge program is also strikingly similar.

AT&T Next users will pay that monthly device fee each month for 12 months (one year), and after this year, a customer can upgrade to a new smartphone or tablet. With this plan, there are no activation fees, upgrade fees, or financing fees, according to AT&T.

The program begins July 26th.

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For iPhone fans that like to purchase a new iPhone annually, perhaps this new plan is the way to go.

If a customer wants to retain their current device beyond 12 months, they could keep paying the monthly after the 20th month of service in order to completely pay off the hardware price.

AT&T says that the new Next program is an additional offering to existing service plans, and customers who want to buy phones or tablets the “classic” way can do so via a normal two year contract and hardware subsidy.

Full press release below:

Today, AT&T* introduces what’s next in wireless. Beginning nationwide on July 26, consumers can get a new AT&T smartphone or tablet every year with no down payment, no activation fee, no upgrade fee and no financing fees.**

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.

“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,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility.

AT&T’s 4G LTE network now covers more than 225 million people nationwide and 328 markets. AT&T’s 4G LTE deployment is expected to cover 300 million people by year-end 2014, with nearly 90 percent of the build completed by the end of this year.

The great performance of AT&T’s network continues to be validated by independent third-party testing. AT&T 4G LTE service was recognized as having faster average download and upload speeds than any of our competitors in PCWorld/TechHive’s most recent 20-market speed tests — the second consecutive year that AT&T has ranked first overall. PCWorld/TechHive also ranked AT&T’s as the fastest combination of 3G and 4G services in the 20 cities it tested.*** And AT&T was named America’s fastest 4G LTE network in PC Magazine’s 2013 Fastest Mobile Networks 30-market study — and also swept the top rankings in all six U.S. regions from coast to coast: Northeast, Southeast, North-Central, South-Central, Northwest and Southwest.****

AT&T Next is available for any current smartphone or tablet in AT&T’s industry-leading selection of devices. The interest-free monthly device installments range from $15 to $50, depending on the device selected. For example, a customer purchasing a Samsung Galaxy® S 4 would have no down payment and pay $32 per month, in addition to the monthly wireless service plan they choose, with the option to trade in their device and upgrade after 12 payments or to keep using the device and pay off the installment plan in full after 20 months. There’s no penalty for paying off the installment plan early.

AT&T offers a broad choice of device purchasing options. In addition to AT&T Next, customers continue to have their choice of all current options, including getting a discounted device with a two-year service commitment; paying full retail price for a device with no-commitment; getting a partial discount for an early upgrade after six months with a two-year service commitment; or bringing their own compatible device.

More information is available at www.att.com/next or at any AT&T retail store.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

** Requires 20-month 0% APR installment agreement & qualifying credit. Wireless service req. (voice & data for smartphones/data for tablets). If you cancel wireless service, remaining balance on device becomes due.Sales tax due at sale. Qualifying devices only. Upgrade after 1 yr.: Req. min. 12 installment payments, acct. in good standing, plus trade-in of current device in good & functional condition & purchase of new device/wireless agreement & service plan. After upgrade remaining unbilled installment payments are waived. AT&T Next available only at AT&T owned retail stores & att.com. If device is returned, restocking fee up to $35 for smartphones or 10% of tablet sales price may apply. Terms subject to change.

*** PCWorld/TechHive, May 23, 2013, “AT&T clocks best overall speeds with 3G/4G combo”

**** PC Magazine, June 17, 2013; http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420333,00.asp

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T |DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

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