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.
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.
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.
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.
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.