AT&T Next 12 and AT&T Next 18 Plans Might Save you Money on your New iPhone 6/Plus or Android Smartphone

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AT&T Next 12 and AT&T Next 18 Plans Might Save you Money on your New iPhone 6/Plus or Android Smartphone

Good morning everyone, I spent an hour and a half last night at my local AT&T Store trying to figure out if AT&T’s Next Plans were better than standard 2 year service contracts.  AT&T Next Plans are only available to AT&T customers (Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile might have similar plans) and is an alternative option to the standard 2 year service contract that allows you to trade-in / upgrade your current smartphone to a new smartphone after 12 or 18 months.  In addition, there is no down payment, no annual service contract, and no activation / upgrade / finance fees.  Learn more about AT&T Next Plans here.

AT&T has 2 difference Next Plans.  The AT&T Next 12 Plan allows you to upgrade after making 12 monthly payments and the AT&T Next 18 Plan allows you to upgrade after making 18 monthly payments.  You can also pre-pay months if you want to upgrade early.

How ATT NEXT Works

This next part is a bit tricky.  If you currently have an AT&T Family Share Plan (sharing data across all of your AT&T lines), you will receive a $25 discount per line if you stay with your current contract plan or convert to an AT&T Next Plan.  However, if you upgrade to another 2 year contract, you will lose the $25 monthly savings.  24 months of $25 = $600.  Ouch!

Terms and Conditions (link):

Savings compares Mobile Share Value plan pricing for smartphone line on AT&T Next or no annual service contract to one on a 2-yr agreement. Per smartphone savings is $25 on plans 10GB and larger & $15 for plans less than 10GB. Existing AT&T customers who had 2-year agreements prior to February 2, 2014, and switch to a 10GB or higher Mobile Share Value plan will receive the $25 Mobile Share Value savings for those smartphones while on that 2-year agreement. Those with 2-year agreements prior to March 9, 2014, who switch to our new 2GB, 4GB, or 6GB Mobile Share Value plan, will receive the $15 Mobile Share Value savings for those smartphones while on that 2-year agreement. But if upgrading to new phone, they must choose a no annual service contract option to keep $15/$25 smartphone rate, otherwise standard 2-year rate applies.

ATT NEXT Monthly Savings FSP

With that said, here is my calculation comparing the AT&T Next 12 Plan, the AT&T Next 18 Plan, and a regular 2 year service contract.  Your figures may vary and should apply whether you purchase a new iPhone or Android smartphone (it is all based on the full retail price of the smartphone, not including carrier subsidizes).

Looking at the standard 2 year service contract price, you get the subsidized price for the smartphone, you pay the sales taxes, and an upgrade fee.  Also, since I will be losing the $25/month discount on the Family Share Plan, I must include that in my calculations.  Looking at the final result, I would have paid between $892 and $1,216 over 2 years (excluding call/text/data plans since those would be the same on either program).  You can also look at the monthly price, based on 24 monthly payments to compare standard 2 year service contract plans and AT&T Next Plans.

ATT 2 Year Contract Calculations

Here is the chart showing the AT&T Next 12 Plan and the AT&T Next 18 Plan.  Some explanation of the calculations is required.  For the AT&T Next 12 Plan, you need to divide the full retail price of the iPhone or Android Smartphone into 20 monthly payments.  If you plan on upgrading after 12 months (usually when Apple releases a new iPhone), multiple that figure by 12 to get your total cost.  For the AT&T Next 18 Plan, you divide the full retail price of the iPhone or Android Smartphone into 24 monthly payments.  If you plan on upgrading after 18 months, multiple that figure by 18 to get your total cost.  If you go with the AT&T Next 18 Plan and want to upgrade sooner than 18 months, you will have to prepay those months to be eligible for the early upgrade.  For example, if you are on month 14 out of 18, you will have to pay 4 more monthly payments before you can upgrade.  If you upgrade often (every 12 months or so), the AT&T Next 12 Plan might be better for you (this is the option I picked).

Looking at the final figures below, the AT&T Next 12 Plan beat the AT&T Next 18 Plan in total cost of ownership every time.  You can also compare monthly prices of the AT&T Next Plans with the standard 2 year service contract monthly prices as well.

iPhone ATT Calculations Next 12 and 18 Plans

I hope this post was helpful.  You may need to visit your local AT&T Store and speak with an AT&T representative to see which plan works best for you.  If you purchased your new iPhone or Android Smartphone with a standard 2 year service contract, you have 2 weeks I believe to “return” the phone and convert to an AT&T Next Plan.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

20 thoughts on “AT&T Next 12 and AT&T Next 18 Plans Might Save you Money on your New iPhone 6/Plus or Android Smartphone

  1. Linda

    Thanks for doing the math – its so complex….what if you are the type that may not upgrade after 2 years – is it better to just buy the phone outright and stay on a share plan?

    Are the phones you get with the next plans locked? Would the phone that you buy outright be unlocked?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Good morning Linda, those are all very good questions. I’m not an expert on the AT&T Next Plans, so you might have to visit your local AT&T store and ask a representative there. I remember from last night that if you pay all the months for each AT&T Next Plan, the phone is 100% yours and you can do whatever you want with it. I don’t remember exactly how the unlock process goes, but I was told there is a special link online that you can request your phone to be unlocked, but I’m not sure what the price would be for that.

      The goal of this post was not to give a yes or no answer whether AT&T Next Plans are better, this post was intended to get your mind thinking about different plan options.

      Reply
  2. calwatch

    For folks grandfathered on an unlimited iPhone data plan, like anyone who got the first couple generations of iPhones, the Mobile Share Value plans are not worth it, and there is no discount on “traditional” plans.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I had the iPhone 2G and all the iPhone’s since then. I believe I was grandfathered in through the 4S/5, but now we use the 10GB family plan. My parents probably use less than 1GB total, so my brother and I have about 9GB to share, which seems to work well for us. Just curious, how much data do you use per month on your unlimited plan?

      Reply
  3. Alex

    Thanks for the post Grant. I am not on a family share plan so this does not apply to me. But definitely an eye opener for people who are! By the way I’m sure you already know this but AT&T will take in any old iPhone 4 to iPhone 5 S for $200-$300 . For example I just took in a four year old iPhone 4 and got 200 bucks for it yesterday! It was just my backup phone!

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Yes, thank you for the reminder. My dad has an iPhone 4 as well and will trade his iPhone in for $200. Great deal since that phone is definitely not worth $200. I believe the AT&T representative said the prices were guaranteed through September 30. My dad will most likely use my iPhone 5S going forward.

      Reply
  4. jason@yahoo.com

    Didn’t look at Tmobile? Their coverage is great in LA/OC. And even if your home area isn’t great, they have wifi calling capability on the iphone 6 now. This plus free intl roaming makes it a no brainer for me

    Reply
    1. Lucy

      Agree, Tmobile has the best pricing and plans, I buy expensive unlocked phones which i can use anywhere in the world and have 5 lines with Tmobile , ALL contract subsidized plans are a rip off in the long term, you end up paying much much mire.

      Reply
  5. Sharon

    The AT&T Rep I just spoke to said he next 18 plan requires 24 payments of the same, so for the 64GB 6+, the total you will end up paying for the phone alone is $850 not $637.56… She went over line by line the 2yr contract vs next 18 plan for me and still 2yr contract wins.. And I am so confused!!! Lol as I believe that is what phone company wants me to feel.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I feel your frustration Sharon, they don’t make it easy. It depends if you keep the phone for the entire 24 month period. I believe AT&T is banking on the fact that most people upgrade between 12 and 18 months after they originally signed up for the Next Plan.

      Reply
  6. Addie

    Mobile Share and AT&T Next are not worth it for my family either. PLAN: I have 23% corporate discount on voice & data so we kept our old “unlimited data plan” and family voice & text plan under a 2 year contract. Though Mobile Share wins ($30 savings per month), our massive savings come with device purchase. DEVICE: Every year, we sell our old phones to Gazelle and get about $270 in average for each iPhone device. This year, we pre-ordered two iPhone 6 Plus ($798 in total under 2 yr contract) but Gazelle will pay us $540 for our old phones. Net IP6 Plus purchase is $258. Because we have two additional basic phones on our plan ($20 per month total), we would use their upgrade eligibility next year to purchase new iPhones ;-)

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Thank you for sharing Addie. Everyone’s AT&T bill is different so I’m glad you were able to crunch the numbers and find the plans that work best for you.

      Reply
  7. noko

    Hi Grant
    Thank you so much for the explanation about AT and T plan. We have the family share account and my son wants to get an IPhone 6+. We were wondering which plan works better for the saving. One question. Do you use your cell phone when you are traveling other country? My son told me that T-Mobile’s phone (has sim card) is better to use in other country. what is your opinion?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      It is true that T-Mobile has a better international plan, I believe you get free data in certain countries. When I travel, I just put my phone in airplane mode and connect to WiFi hotspots around where I’m traveling.

      Reply

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