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Is AT&T’s “Next” Plan A Good Deal?

Submitted by on July 17, 2013 – 8:50 amOne Comment

Service provider AT&T recently joined the trend of offering more frequent device upgrades- for a price, of course. Two-year contracts have long been the bane of tech-savvy consumers who love to get the latest devices as soon as they’re available, so this offer would seem to be a good deal; but does it leave customers paying more and getting less?

Under the Next plan, AT&T customers would pay $15 to $50 extra (depending on the device), in addition to the monthly service plan. After 12 months, the device can be traded in, or the plan can be paid off after 20 months.

Nilay Patel at The Verge calls the plan “an absolutely clear ripoff designed to cheat customers into paying full price for their phone without actually buying anything.” Patel has to make some estimates about how much of AT&T’s costs are going towards a “device subsidy.” But basically, he shows that after 12 months with Next, you’ll have paid more than the retail cost of the device, but you won’t own it like you would under a two-year contract or if you bought it outright.

The Next plan is a clear response to T-Mobile’s Jump plan, announced last week. Similarly, T-Mobile is offering shorter device commitments for an additional fee- but the fee is just $10, and customers can trade in phones twice a calendar year starting after six months with the plan.

Nathan Ingraham (also at The Verge) says this plan has more potential to be a good deal, depending on one’s phone consumption habits.

“If you’re confident you’ll take advantage of the plan twice a year, every year, it’s worth looking into,” he writes.

What do you think? Would you take either deal?

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