In what is obviously a response to the new T-Mobile JUMP two smartphone upgrades a year plan that T-Mobile revealed last week, we've now heard similar ideas from both AT&T and Verizon. Today AT&T announced their new "AT&T Next plan" with the promise that users can upgrade their smartphones once a year, instead of every 24 months. The idea sounds great, but T-Mobile has a few comments on AT&T's "answer".
A similar plan is apparently in the works from Verizon called VZ Edge, that will allow for more timely updates. All we know right now is that T-Mobile has certainly shaken up the industry here in the US, and we should all be thanking and applauding them. Since Verizon's plan isn't official, lets talk about AT&T's and if it's even worth it.
AT&T Next will allow users to get a device with no down payment, no activation fee, and no new contract signing. However, you'll have to pay monthly payments on the device ranging from $15 to $50 per month, on top of your monthly bill. You're making monthly payments for the phone. After 12 months you can opt to trade it in for a brand new phone, and do that every 12 months instead of every 24. Or, after 20 months you can keep it and still get a new device.
When you sign a 2-year contract and get a phone at a subsidized price for $199 (like the Galaxy S4) instead of full $649 retail price, AT&T makes that up in their subsidized plans you pay month to month for the 24 months you're in contract. Subsidies are nothing new, but AT&T's new Next deal doesn't give us an unsubsidized plan prices. This means you're paying for the device with their monthly payments, and in the monthly service plan. Essentially making you pay for the phone twice. It's a total ripoff. We noticed this right away, and T-Mobile confirms that today with this comment.
AT&T has separated the cost of the phone and the rate plan, but they forgot to pass on the monthly service plan savings to the customer. Instead, customers are paying the same high monthly service bill, but with no device subsidy. That means customers in this program will essentially pay for their phone twice!
At AT&T, customers pay more and get less than at T-Mobile where customers aren’t charged overages and can save over $50 per month versus AT&T. Americans deserve better than the confusing, complicated “deals” offered by our competitors. They deserve an Un-carrier they can trust. And they get it at T-Mobile. -- T-Mobile spokesperson
T-Mobile's new JUMP initiative might not be the ideal solution to device upgrades, but it certainly is a hell of a lot better than AT&T's sneaky deal they've announced. That's for sure. We'll likely see some changes, but for now things are a go with AT&T Next to become available on July 26th. T-Mobile's own CEO was even amazed by the new "deals" from AT&T.