AT&T Next

AT&T Next Plan Review – What Is AT&T Next? (Good and Bad)

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Over the past year, AT&T has unveiled many new ways for customers to save money and have more options when it comes to their wireless plans. This means that you’re no longer stuck with just a few options when buying your new phone and looking through plans. AT&T Next is one of those newer options where you can have more freedom with the phone your purchase, including the ability to upgrade your phone more frequently and save on the monthly prices of plans.

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We break down the AT&T Next options in this review guide. We take a look at everything from the fine print and terms of financing your phones along with how to save on the plans, what phones are available, pros, cons, and general reviews of the terms. Feel free to leave your own questions or reviews and experiences with AT&T Next at the bottom of the page.

AT&T Next Discount

The discount you receive, as mentioned before, will be for your plans and not the phone itself. While there may be some phone deals available, such as $0 down, the real savings will come from the lower monthly price of your wireless plan. This means that if you choose a phone that’s much cheaper than average you can end up saving anywhere from $10 to $25 per month on the price of the plan. If you’re purchasing a more expensive phone such as an iPhone from AT&T using the Next program then the savings can vary if there are any savings at all since these phones tend to be more expensive which means a higher monthly price.

AT&T Next Pricing: How Does It Work?

When you sign up for the AT&T Next plan you’re essentially financing your phone. This means that each phone will have a different price as phones like the iPhone are more expensive than some of the older and economy smartphones that aren’t as well known or have as many features. When you qualify for the financing you will be paying monthly for the phones for a term of 20 to 24 months but you can trade in your existing phone to upgrade at 10 to 12 months.

The current terms at the time of this article are that you’ll get 0% APR when you finance your phone through AT&T. You will also save on the activation fee, which is usually $35, but there is no activation fee, down payment, or financing fee. Eliminating those fees alone will help you save at least $50. You will have to pay the sales tax upfront, but you won’t have to pay any taxes on the phone after the initial sales tax at the time of purchase.

Also, if you’re wanting to pay your phone off early there’s currently nothing within their terms of the agreement that says you can’t go ahead and pay off your phone early. This could come in handy for those who are near the end of their financing term and want to pay the extra to be able to upgrade or own the phone and take it to a prepaid plan.

Update: AT&T has slightly changed how the payments and pricing work since we wrote this guide. We have an updated section below detailing the differences between AT&T Next and AT&T Next Year below. This section will be updated soon, but all of the in-depth differences in the two ways you can pay can be found below and they’re essentially still the same.

Who Can Qualify For An AT&T Next Plan

Most customers who can qualify for a regular wireless plan can qualify for AT&T Next. According to the AT&T website, the plans are available for those who have credit that qualifies for the plans and phones or current AT&T customers who are eligible for an upgrade. There are many different exclusions that could cause someone to not qualify, but every person will be different on if they qualify for the program.

AT&T Next Plans: What Plans Are Available?

The main selling point of the AT&T Next program are the cheaper plans. The plans are cheaper because they aren’t including the cost of subsidizing your phone like they would with a regular wireless plan on a two-year agreement. This means that you can get a discount on the monthly price, but then you will also be paying the cost of the phone separate. This means that you may be saving $30 per month on your plan for talk, text, and data but then you will also have a charge on your bill for the phone you have through the next program that can be anywhere from $15 to $50 per month depending on the exact phone you purchase.

Also Check Out: AT&T Internet Plan Review

All of the regular plans that AT&T offers are available with the Next program. So if you’re currently happy with your plan and you’re upgrading to the Next plan then you can keep your current plan. If you’re signing up for a new plan then you can use the tools available to help you figure out how much data you need. Almost all of the plans already include unlimited talk and text so data is the main thing you need to figure out to hit the right price point and get the cheapest plan. Most of the new plans have “pooled data” along with a fee per phone that’s on the plan. This means you purchase an certain amount of data (such as 6GB’s) and then everyone on your plan shares it or if you’re on a single line plan then the data is all yours. The plans with 2-year contracts and AT&T Next are nearly identical other than the difference in the pricing because of the cost of the phone being charged differently.

AT&T Next vs. AT&T Next Every Year

AT&T Next now has two different simple options, AT&T Next and AT&T Next Every Year. AT&T Next will allow you to trade in your old phone for a new phone every two years and has payments over 30 months. AT&T Next Every Year will let you trade in your old phone after one year and has payments for your device over 24 months.

The difference between the two is that one you will be able to trade in for a new device every two years and the other (AT&T Next Every Year) you’ll be able to trade in each year. The downside of trading in your device every year is that the “Every Year” option has the payment spread over 24 months which means your monthly payments on your phone will be higher. So you’ll essentially just have to make the choice of if you want lower monthly payments on your phone and only be able to trade in for a new device every two years or accept higher monthly payments, but be able to trade in for a new device every year.

AT&T Next Pros and Cons

We break down the good and the bad about the AT&T Next program. This is a simple breakdown of the pros and cons to help you figure out whether this early upgrade program is right for you.


  • Potentially lower prices on your monthly plan.
  • Ability to upgrade your phone regularly (every 12-18 months).
  • No early termination fees or 2-year agreements on your wireless plan.
  • No down-payment and 0% APR on the smartphone.
  • No activation fee


  • More expensive smartphones (such as the iPhone) can make your plans more expensive.
  • Limit of four AT&T Next phones per account. Could not be enough for larger families all wanting to take advantage of the cheaper plans.

The AT&T Next plan is simply another option for those who are wanting to have more control over how they’re billed. Those who are purchasing mid-level to low-level phones will save more money using Next than those who are putting the more expensive iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones on their bills. If you’re wanting to be able to upgrade more often and get a more defined price on the phone, you’re purchasing then the AT&T Next option may be for you. Feel free to leave questions, comments, reviews and more below within the discussion section.

AT&T Next Deal: Find deals for AT&T Next phones and other AT&T phone purchasing options through the link provided. There are coupons available from time to time for new customers as well as existing customers who are eligible for an upgrade.

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  1. Recieved notice must upgrade before May 10. If I don,t want to does this mean my 2Gdevice will no longer be able to be used or is this just a way if I need to get a new phone. Please explain.

    1. Hi Ruth,

      We’re not sure exactly if you HAVE to upgrade per AT&T’s policies, but that being said a 2G phone is pretty far from the latest and you could see some increases in speed (data and voice quality) by upgrading to a new device. Almost all of the phones within the past 5 years are 3G and 4G. So the AT&T policy of forcing you to upgrade your 2G device doesn’t sound like something out of the ordinary.

      There are some cheaper phones available now that are high quality that you can purchase through AT&T on a lease plan through AT&T Next. If you qualify for the credit then you can get these phones for as low as $5 per month. The new iPhone SE also has a lower price point and can be leased for around $13 per month.

  2. This guide has been updated with some of the newer options for getting a phone with AT&T Next. A full update of this guide will be coming soon.

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