AT&T's new Next Up installment plan is a ripoff for customers and reps alike

AT&T's new Next Up installment plan is a ripoff for customers and reps alike
AT&T is reacting to the fact that people keep their phones longer in a weird way that, however, makes perfect business sense. Study after study show that folks buy a brand new phone every three instead of two years now on average, plateauing the industry growth in the last two years or so. 

The factors behind this statistic are many, but two really stand out. First, even midrange phones now do a good enough job to be kept for years on end, and second, the removal of subsidies and jacking up phones' retail prices made people squeeze every last mileage out of their current handsets before they swap.

So, what's a carrier to do? Well, just as predicted, AT&T will be revamping the Next installment plans option, adding AT&T Installment Plan and Installment Plan with Next Up to its carrier mix on July 9th. What's the difference?

Well, we were sent a rep training manual detailing the changes and, sadly, both are 30-month options, no two-year contracts here. If you choose Next Up, you will have the privilege to pay $5 more per month to ensure that you can upgrade early once 50% of the phone's price is paid off.


The sad part is that these two puppies will may be replacing the current Next and Next Every Year plans, taking the 24-month installment option off the market. That's what our tipster says, whereas in the document itself AT&T just states that, "starting July 9, AT&T's introducing 2 new Installment plans."

Needless to say, the $5 extra for Next Up don't go towards the balance of the phone, so it will add up to at least $75 until you have the right to upgrade on the new AT&T Installment Plan with the fresh Next Up option after 15 months. Needless to say again, customer service reps are fuming about the reduced commission potential, too. Bummer, but apparently that's what we get for keeping our expensive phones longer.


Thanks for the tips!

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12 Comments

1. OneLove123

Posts: 882; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

That’s why I paid cash. If you need to pay monthly in a phone then you can’t afford it.

2. OneLove123

Posts: 882; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

“on” damn autocorrect

4. rroach3753

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 04, 2019

I have a six-figure salary and can more than afford to pay for my phone upfront. But why should I when I can pay overtime for free (no interest). Assuming that people can’t afford it makes and ass out of you.

5. deago78

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

You missed the "me" in that saying...ohh wait, I see what you did there.

10. Dadler22

Posts: 238; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Yeah he's ignoring the time value of money. At least he's frugal?

3. mcdonsco

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

Considering all the GREAT phones available now for $300 or less TOTAL the only reason to do a payment plan is if it's a 50% off or similar "deal" on a specific phone. Otherwise, pay cash and if you can't afford to pay cash for a flagship, get a Moto G7 or similar, great phones for cheap.

6. Plutonium239

Posts: 1178; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

I miss the old two year contracts.

7. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1232; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Why only 2.5 years and just 5$ Next UP charges?? Please bring 36months or 42 months installments (after totally scrapping 24 and 30 months) and extra 15$ UP charges please... Dear AT&T, since you have decided to duck your customers to your heart's content, why should you care about using oil???

8. scottdarth

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 05, 2019

I’d probably just purchase my phone at Best Buy with the “no interest for 12 months” option (Best Buy Credit Card) and get the unlocked phone. AT&T is getting desperate. They overpaid for DirecTV, for TimeWarner, and they’ve lost their identity. VZW is looking better and better...

9. jcarmstrong23

Posts: 35; Member since: Apr 27, 2014

Not really a rip-off for more expensive phones. Under the old Next plan you could choose from 24 or 30 months with upgrade options at 12 (50%) or 24 (80%) months. Taking the iPhone XS max 64gb model ($1099) as an example. Under the old pricing would cost $36.67 on 30 months or $45.84 on the 24 month plan. The new plan actually SAVES customers $4.17 if they choose to do the additional $5 upgrade option.

11. Johnnycakes

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 24, 2018

Still a rip-off. No matter how you do the math, bottom line, you are still paying an extra $5 a month for the privilege to upgrade, and that $5 goes nowhere, completely lost to AT&T. Under the old structure, all payments went to the cost of the device.

12. CantEvenWin

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 24, 2019

I work for ATT. Im actually reading this and commenting from my work computer. This new system is WHACK. 95% of the customers who chose the 24mo. option before didn't keep track of when they could upgrade well enough to get the full benefit anyway. (Upgrading at 12mo.) They would usually notice around the 18-20mo. mark. Meaning a lot of the people the choose this next up thing are going to not even realize they can upgrade and pay a few months extra of $5/mo. Its just bad. Period

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