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Your Guide To Understanding AT&T Next Plans

Your Guide To Understanding ATT Next Plans

Availing of early upgrade programs seem to be the "in" thing to do these days. With these programs, customers get to upgrade to a new smartphone sooner than the regular two-year cycle allowed in most contracts.


One of the four major wireless carriers, AT&T, has its own early upgrade program called AT&T Next. Introduced for the first time during summer of last year, AT&T Next plans offer varying options for customers with regards to how early they want to be eligible for phone upgrades. To know more about AT&T Next plans, scroll down below.


The Basics


AT&T currently offers three AT&T Next plans, namely AT&T Next 12, AT&T Next 18, and the recently launched AT&T Next 24. The number that follows each of the plan names refer to the number of months in which the customer can become eligible for a phone upgrade. Thus, customers who get an AT&T Next 12 plan can upgrade as early as 12 months; AT&T Next 18 as early as 18 months; and AT&T Next 24 as early as 24 months.


Repayment Duration and Monthly Fees


Any AT&T Next plan is just a scheme to enable customers to repay the phone they bought via regular monthly payments over a specific period of time. For the Next 12, it is 20 months; for the Next 18, it is 24 months; for the Next 24, it is 30 months.


The monthly fees for each Next option is broken down as follows: AT&T Next 12 -- monthly fee is equivalent to 5 percent of the phone's purchase price; AT&T Next 18 -- 4.15 percent of the purchase price; AT&T Next 24 -- 3.3 percent of the purchase price.


The Mechanics


Under any AT&T Next plan, customers can buy a smartphone with $0 downpayment, but will need to complete a specific number of monthly payments. The amount of the monthly payment will depend on the price of the smartphone they choose, and the specific plan they pick, which will dictate how many months the phone's purchase price will be divided by. 


Take a Samsung Galaxy S5 (16-gigabyte edition), for example. This device sells for $649.99 upfront. But when you purchase this through an AT&T Next 12 plan, you will not have to provide any downpayment, but instead, you just need to pay $32.50 per month (that's 5 percent of the phone's purchase price) for a period of 20 months, with an option to upgrade your smartphone after 12 months.


It should be noted that in order for customers to qualify for the upgrade, their phones should be fully functional and in good physical condition at the time of the upgrade period (after 12, 18, or 24 months, depending on the plan). Otherwise, they will need to pay off their phone's full price before they can upgrade.