Definitive "How AT&T Next Works" Guide

mike1123

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 19, 2007
266
32
Disclaimer: This guide is for the 4 most common scenarios people face and is not exhaustive. :)


Let's begin!

Okay let's clear some stuff up for everyone who is curious about how the ATT Next system works.

Additional first note for all: if you are eligible for Next (see below), you pay NOTHING up front except for sales tax on the retail price of the phone. So for the entry level iPhone 6 aka $199 phone: Retail is +$450 on the full upgrade price, so retail would be $650. If you have 6% sales tax, then $650*6% = $39 tax.


A. IF YOU HAVE A CURRENT 2 YR CONTRACT ON THE LINE YOU WANT TO UPGRADE:

-- If you started the contract ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 18, 2014: You are eligible to upgrade to ATT Next on this line right now. This also applies if your contract is over. This will 1. End the remainder of your 2 year contract for this line, if any exists 2. Have NO ETFs for this line 3. Give you complete ownership of the device on this line that is now OUT of contract. Sell as you please and profit. :)

-- If you started the contract AFTER JANUARY 18, 2014:You cannot upgrade to ATT Next until 20 months have passed on your 2 year contract. That is 1 Year, 8 months for anyone counting. So, if you signed up on January 19, 2014, you're looking at September 20, 2015. How unfortunate. This is the only real nitpick I have with ATT upgrade eligibility to the Next plan, as this is a long time to wait.


Overview of ATT Next:

-- You can either have the ATT 12 Month Plan or the ATT 18 Month Plan

The way it works for current and future ATT Next lines is this:
The 12 month plan is comprised of 20 payments, and the 18 month plan is comprised of 24 payments This is the cost of the phone (without tax) divided into 20 or 24 even parts over 20 or 24 months, depending on which plan (12 or 18) you have on this line. The 12 or 18 months refers to earliest upgrade period, so after 12 or 18 months, you can upgrade to a new phone without any money down (besides taxes on the new phone).

B. IF YOU HAVE A CURRENT AT&T NEXT PLAN ON THE LINE YOU WANT TO UPGRADE AND HAVE MADE THE ONLY THE MINIMUM PAYMENTS (12 or 18 months' worth)

At this point where you reach 12 or 18 months, you are required to trade in your phone to complete your eligibility for a new ATT Next upgrade. Everyone is whining about how the phone "isn't really yours". This is because you haven't paid it off yet! Remember how the 12 month plan has 20 months of payments and the 18 month plan has 24 months of payments? Well, after 12 months of payments on the former plan, you still have 8 payments left to make, so ATT is saying, "look, we will waive the last 8 payments if you trade the phone in". Say the payment is $32.50 (I will list general pricing per month below). You have paid 12 months * $32.50 = $390 and still owe 8 months * $32.50 = $260. Total cost is *gasp* $649! That sounds familiar! Yes, that is the retail price of a $199 iPhone, ladies and gentlemen. No ripoff here. If you wait until after you make your 20 payments (if you have the 12 month plan) or 24 payments (if you have the 18 month plan, you then own the phone. At this point, if you choose a new ATT Next phone for this line, you do not have to trade in your old device. Understood? Good. Moving on.

Now, let's say -
C. IF YOU HAVE A CURRENT AT&T NEXT PLAN ON THE LINE YOU WANT TO UPGRADE AND HAVE NOT YET MADE THE MINIMUM PAYMENTS (Less than the 12 or 18 months' worth, depending on your plan)
You can log on to your ATT account via their website and use the options available to make some choices:
PAY TO UPGRADE THIS DEVICE option. You will pay the remainder of your minimum monthly payments up to and including the 12th/18th month, which will immediately deem you "upgrade eligible". So, if you paid 10 months out of your 12, you will owe $32.50 * 2 months = $65.00. After that, you trade in your phone and proceed with a new upgrade as normal.

PAY OFF THIS DEVICE option. Self explanatory. This is the remaining amount of money you owe on the phone (so it would be all payments through the 20th/24th month rather than 12th/18th month). If you made 10 payments on a 12 month Next plan and want to keep your current phone but also upgrade, then you will owe 20 months - 10 months = 10 months * $32.50 = $325.00. You will then OWN the phone and can proceed with a new ATT Next upgrade without trading it in.

D. IF YOU HAVE A CURRENT AT&T NEXT PLAN ON THE LINE YOU WANT TO UPGRADE AND HAVE MADE THE MINIMUM PAYMENTS BUT HAVE NOT PAID OFF THE PHONE (More than 12/18 but less than 20/24 months, depending on your plan)
You can either 1. Surrender your phone and upgrade. You made an extra few payments of $32.50 that you won't get back. Oh well.

2. Make the remaining payments via the website with the PAY OFF THIS DEVICE option: If you made 18 payments on a 12 month Next plan and want to keep your current phone but also upgrade, then you will owe 20 months - 18 months = 2 months * $32.50 = $65.00. You will then OWN the phone and can proceed with a new ATT Next upgrade without trading it in.

The $32.50 I keep referencing, again, is for a '$199' phone, i.e. the entry level iPhone 6 with a retail cost of $649.00. Remember 649/32.50 = 19.999 aka 20.

So, here we go with pricing:

ATT Next 12 Month Plan (12 months of payments to trade in, 20 months of payments to own):
16 GB iPhone 6: $32.50/mo
64 GB iPhone 6: $37.50/mo
128 GB iPhone 6: $42.50/mo
16 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $37.50/mo
64 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $42.50/mo
128 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $47.50/mo

The ATT 18 numbers aren't quite as exact a science as the 12, but these are pulled from ATT and are valid:

ATT Next 18 month Plan (18 months of payments to trade in, 24 months of payments to own):
16 GB iPhone 6: $27.09/mo
64 GB iPhone 6: $31.25/mo
128 GB iPhone 6: $35.42/mo
16 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $31.25/mo
64 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $35.42/mo
128 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $39.59/mo

Now, all of this is just for the cost of the phone alone. It does not include service costs, which are separate and are beyond the scope of this discussion. You can save some serious coin with ATT Next and Mobile Share though, (on the tune of $15/month per line for 6-9.99 gb and $25/month per line for 10gb and greater).

Cheers!
 

realeric

macrumors 65816
Jun 19, 2009
1,025
1,250
United States
It's very simple. What is AT&T Next Plan?

"If you give me $27.09/m for 24 months, I will refund you $23.33/m for 24 months. (16GB)." :eek::eek:

($23.33 = $199/24 + ($40 - $25) monthly mobile share discount per line)
 

Rugburn

macrumors member
Sep 10, 2014
67
9
Sounds good.

Can anyone who has done the next plan answer my question?

Currently my bill is exactly $140.86 after all taxes, fees, etc... If I upgrade one of the phones to next for $31.25 (next 18, 64gb 6). My bill should be exactly $172.11 correct?

What I am afraid of is AT&T calculating my taxes and fees after including the $31.25 to the net total. Granted it may not be a whole lot of money, but I don't want to be double taxed... Would rather pay oop if that were the case.

If you have upgraded under NEXT did your bill only go up the exact $ you expected? Or was it a little more after increased state, local taxes, etc.
 

KAMB

macrumors 6502
Aug 22, 2013
268
21
Connecticut
So basically if I buy the iPhone 6 64GB on the Next 12 20 month plan @ $37.50/month I am paying $750 total + tax of 6.35% in CT ($47.63) making it $797.63?

If thats what I would pay for an unlocked non contract phone that doesn't sound to bad. I'd be paying it off on day one after my 5s is sold.
 

egeek84

macrumors 6502
Mar 26, 2010
425
95
Northern California
ATT Next is NOT the ripoff it once was.

Ever since they came out with the discounted mobile share plans, NEXT is actually a great way to get a new phone.

The best thing about it is in essence, you are getting a line of credit and can pay off your phone in monthly installments.

Sure you'd save 350 bucks if you were eligible for and signed up for a new 2 year contract but the downside to that is you need to pay the 300 for the phone up front (with tax) and would also be ineligible for valued mobile share pricing (more money on your bill per month for each line). Also you're stuck with the 40 dollar upgrade fee.

NEXT is great because you have more options and breathing room. No more worrying about if i'll be eligible to upgrade for that new iphone. Want the new iphone next year? Just trade in your old one once youve made the minimum months of payment.

I too was highly suspicious of it at one point but if you do the math, you're just paying for the phone over time and nothing more. ATT gets nothing really extra out of it. Theres no "gotcha" gimmick at all. It's just about giving consumers another choice when it comes to getting a new phone.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,798
3,089
A. IF YOU HAVE A CURRENT 2 YR CONTRACT ON THE LINE YOU WANT TO UPGRADE:

-- If you started the contract ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 18, 2014: You are eligible to upgrade to ATT Next on this line right now. This also applies if your contract is over. This will 1. End the remainder of your 2 year contract for this line, if any exists 2. Have NO ETFs for this line 3. Give you complete ownership of the device on this line that is now OUT of contract. Sell as you please and profit. :)
One thing I couldn't find an answer to, does this mean AT&T will unlock the device that used to be on the new NEXT line?
 

KAMB

macrumors 6502
Aug 22, 2013
268
21
Connecticut
Definitive "How AT&T Next Works" Guide

ATT Next is NOT the ripoff it once was.

Ever since they came out with the discounted mobile share plans, NEXT is actually a great way to get a new phone.

The best thing about it is in essence, you are getting a line of credit and can pay off your phone in monthly installments.

Sure you'd save 350 bucks if you were eligible for and signed up for a new 2 year contract but the downside to that is you need to pay the 300 for the phone up front (with tax) and would also be ineligible for valued mobile share pricing (more money on your bill per month for each line). Also you're stuck with the 40 dollar upgrade fee.

NEXT is great because you have more options and breathing room. No more worrying about if i'll be eligible to upgrade for that new iphone. Want the new iphone next year? Just trade in your old one once youve made the minimum months of payment.

I too was highly suspicious of it at one point but if you do the math, you're just paying for the phone over time and nothing more. ATT gets nothing really extra out of it. Theres no "gotcha" gimmick at all. It's just about giving consumers another choice when it comes to getting a new phone.
Awesome I'm glad to hear all that. Looks like I'll be going this route and switching over to the next plan and just paying off the phone especially if there is no difference buying the phone outright or paying through NEXT.
 

xspaint

macrumors member
Oct 5, 2010
42
7
Great explanation. Cleared up a few questions I had. Probably going to with the 10gb MobileShare plan too. Im currently grandfathered into the Unlimited Data plan, but I've been getting throttled at 5gb for the last few months which is very annoying. I also have a 23% discount for working at IBM. Looks like ill be saving a lot more by switching. Off to AT&T I go..
 

Dandrews524

macrumors 6502
Jan 30, 2009
482
1
New York
I know people on the internet always pretend to be experts on things but in this case i literally just quit a job with ATT Customer care and all i did all day was explain the next program to customers. Without a doubt, if you are on a mobile share value plan, 10gb or higher, the 18 next 18 program will save you the upfront cost of the phone, usually about $199, a $40 dollar upgrade/activation fee and the tax on the $199. With the next program you are only playing retail for the phone. With a 2 year contract price you pay $600 in just line fees, plus the subsidized price of the phone and a $40 upgrade or activation fee.
 

xspaint

macrumors member
Oct 5, 2010
42
7
I know people on the internet always pretend to be experts on things but in this case i literally just quit a job with ATT Customer care and all i did all day was explain the next program to customers. Without a doubt, if you are on a mobile share value plan, 10gb or higher, the 18 next 18 program will save you the upfront cost of the phone, usually about $199, a $40 dollar upgrade/activation fee and the tax on the $199. With the next program you are only playing retail for the phone. With a 2 year contract price you pay $600 in just line fees, plus the subsidized price of the phone and a $40 upgrade or activation fee.
So let me ask you this...With a normal 2 year contract over the course of the 2 years theres a certain amount that included in your plan thats part of the subsidy for the phone. After your contract is up why doesn't your bill go down? Theoretically it should, due to the fact you're not paying the subsidized add on for the phone.

THanks
-Jay
 

Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2003
1,081
118
I have one NEXT question I haven't seen asked elsewhere: Does buying a device with NEXT generate a credit inquiry on your credit report if you're a current customer? They're essentially giving you a 20 or 24 month line of credit, so it wouldn't be surprising, but none of the FAQs or discussion mention it.
 

swordfish5736

macrumors 68000
Jun 29, 2007
1,897
104
Cesspool
So let me ask you this...With a normal 2 year contract over the course of the 2 years theres a certain amount that included in your plan thats part of the subsidy for the phone. After your contract is up why doesn't your bill go down? Theoretically it should, due to the fact you're not paying the subsidized add on for the phone.

THanks
-Jay
It does with the mobile share plans. On the 10gb plan if you are on contract device cost per month is $40. On next or off contract device cost per month is only $15.
 

dejo

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 2, 2004
15,725
447
The Centennial State
A. IF YOU HAVE A CURRENT 2 YR CONTRACT ON THE LINE YOU WANT TO UPGRADE:

-- If you started the contract ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 18, 2014: You are eligible to upgrade to ATT Next on this line right now. This also applies if your contract is over. This will 1. End the remainder of your 2 year contract for this line, if any exists 2. Have NO ETFs for this line 3. Give you complete ownership of the device on this line that is now OUT of contract. Sell as you please and profit. :)
If one is in this boat, can they preorder an iPhone 6 / 6 Plus on Friday?
 

Dandrews524

macrumors 6502
Jan 30, 2009
482
1
New York
So let me ask you this...With a normal 2 year contract over the course of the 2 years theres a certain amount that included in your plan thats part of the subsidy for the phone. After your contract is up why doesn't your bill go down? Theoretically it should, due to the fact you're not paying the subsidized add on for the phone.

THanks
-Jay
Lets say you bought a iphone 5 at launch two years ago. Now this year you are on a 10gb msvp, since you signed a 2 year contract for the iphone 5 before 02/14, the line fee for your iphone on the 10gb msvp is $15 instead of the standard $40 for any smart phone. When you sign a 2 year contract and get the phone at a subsidized price that $15 line fee turns back into $40 to help recoup the money ATT lost subsidizing the phone. The new mobile share value plans have not been around for 2 years so I cant say with any certainty what happens to the $40 line fee after a 2 year contract has expired. I would assume if you call ATT and let them know your contract is up they would make sure you recive the $25 credit towards your $40 line fee.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,798
3,089
So let me ask you this...With a normal 2 year contract over the course of the 2 years theres a certain amount that included in your plan thats part of the subsidy for the phone. After your contract is up why doesn't your bill go down? Theoretically it should, due to the fact you're not paying the subsidized add on for the phone.
On the new Mobile Share Value plans, they do now. You get a $15-25 discount per line that's not on contract depending on your data bucket.
 

xspaint

macrumors member
Oct 5, 2010
42
7
Lets say you bought a iphone 5 at launch two years ago. Now this year you are on a 10gb msvp, since you signed a 2 year contract for the iphone 5 before 02/14, the line fee for your iphone on the 10gb msvp is $15 instead of the standard $40 for any smart phone. When you sign a 2 year contract and get the phone at a subsidized price that $15 line fee turns back into $40 to help recoup the money ATT lost subsidizing the phone. The new mobile share value plans have not been around for 2 years so I cant say with any certainty what happens to the $40 line fee after a 2 year contract has expired. I would assume if you call ATT and let them know your contract is up they would make sure you recive the $25 credit towards your $40 line fee.
Thanks. Im currently not on the MS plan. I'm grandfathered into the unlimited plan. But i understand what you mean. Thanks for clearing that up
 

PellieM

macrumors newbie
Sep 10, 2014
4
0
thanks for making this a bit clearer

----------

I am not on the next plan yet but my contract started before Jan 2014.
Should I order online on Friday or should I switch to the next plan now and then order on Friday? Thanks!
 

ihonda

macrumors 68000
Sep 17, 2009
1,837
169
can't figure out if this will benefit me or not.

current plan 750 + 4 extra lines for 5 lines total.

3 unlimited iPhone plans + 1x 3gb plan + unlimited text.

around $240.00 after taxes each month after 25% discount.

from what i understand my 25% discount would still apply on the mobile share program. we would need at least 20gb a month which is $225.00 /mo

according to att these prices do not reflect your corporate discount. Look for your 25% discount ($37.50) thus resulting in $187.50 with existing phones. now the more i read there are also other discounts if you then go on the att next program or am i reading into that the wrong way?
 

Ashtar

macrumors regular
Sep 8, 2014
171
0
Sounds good.

Can anyone who has done the next plan answer my question?

Currently my bill is exactly $140.86 after all taxes, fees, etc... If I upgrade one of the phones to next for $31.25 (next 18, 64gb 6). My bill should be exactly $172.11 correct?

What I am afraid of is AT&T calculating my taxes and fees after including the $31.25 to the net total. Granted it may not be a whole lot of money, but I don't want to be double taxed... Would rather pay oop if that were the case.

If you have upgraded under NEXT did your bill only go up the exact $ you expected? Or was it a little more after increased state, local taxes, etc.
Great question. Anyone able to clarify this?
 

malnar

macrumors 6502a
Aug 20, 2008
625
36
I'm in the "choice A, contract started Sept. 2013" boat. Anyone know if testing out pricing on ATT.com is reliable using the current 5s prices, since they're identical to the iPhone 6 prices. Really confused by the various options, though - it appears I can upgrade the iPhone 5c I currently have to a 6 and keep my 3gb data plan cheaply ($55 a month), rather than join one of the Mobile Share plans that raises my monthly payment. I feel like that shouldn't work out, but I tried it with my wife's 5c line and it worked out slightly less ($50 as she's the secondary on the line). It would really help to know all this in advance rather than trying to deal with it in the panic on Friday worrying about the presale selling out.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,798
3,089
can't figure out if this will benefit me or not.

current plan 750 + 4 extra lines for 5 lines total.

3 unlimited iPhone plans + 1x 3gb plan + unlimited text.

around $240.00 after taxes each month after 25% discount.

from what i understand my 25% discount would still apply on the mobile share program. we would need at least 20gb a month which is $225.00 /mo

according to att these prices do not reflect your corporate discount. Look for your 25% discount ($37.50) thus resulting in $187.50 with existing phones. now the more i read there are also other discounts if you then go on the att next program or am i reading into that the wrong way?
Don't switch. Your existing plan is cheaper. $187.50 does not include any device costs. Meanwhile, that $240 per month already includes $93.75 in device subsidies.
 

sfwalter

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,784
811
Dallas Texas
Assuming I had been on the Next 12 plan for a year and I've made the 12 monthly payments. I now want to get the a new phone. Can I upgrade thru Apple.com or an Apple retail store since I need to return my current phone? Or since I need to return the phone do I need to go into an ATT store to get a new phone?
 

Ashtar

macrumors regular
Sep 8, 2014
171
0
Assuming I had been on the Next 12 plan for a year and I've made the 12 monthly payments. I now want to get the a new phone. Can I upgrade thru Apple.com or an Apple retail store since I need to return my current phone? Or since I need to return the phone do I need to go into an ATT store to get a new phone?
Apple website will only work for new Next customers who don't have to trade in a phone, or existing Next customers whose phone is completely paid for already.
 

bigcat

macrumors 6502
Sep 12, 2008
389
89
I am still not sure NEXT is the way to go.

For example, let's say I want iPhone 6+ 64GB. I can get it now for $399 or $42.45/month (Next 12)

Let's say I go with Next, and 12 months from now I want to get iPhone 6S. At at point, I would have paid (12x42.45 = $509.40) for a phone I have to return to AT&T (trade-in) in order to get the new one, and then start paying for the other one, etc.

If I just spend the $399 now, I could sell it in 12 months, and use that money towards the new phone, which will be at full price since I wouldn't be eligible to upgrade but it would probably cover around half the price (~$300).

So if you always upgrade when a new phone is available, it still seems to me NEXT is more money than the 2-yr contract.