Get a New Device Every Year with AT&T Next

AT&T logoAT&T is offering something new. It is called AT&T Next. At first glance, it looks like a way for AT&T customers to get a new smartphone or tablet every 12 months. It seems they are trying to attract people who strongly feel that they must have the newest, hottest, version of technology as soon as it comes out. Of course, these types of offers always have fine print that you should read.

Some key points are:
* Requires 20 month 0% APR installment agreement and qualifying credit.
* Requires you to get wireless service (voice & data for smartphones/data for tablets)
* If you cancel before the 12 months is up you must pay the remaining balance on the device.
* You must select a device from their list of qualifying devices.
* You cannot upgrade until after you have paid a minimum of 12 installment payments.
* You cannot upgrade unless your device is in good and functional condition.
* You have to purchase a new device/wireless agreement and service plan when you upgrade a device.
* There is a $35.00 restocking fee for smartphones, or a 10% restocking fee for tablets that are returned.

I can see where AT&T Next would be interesting for people who want to stick with AT&T for more than one year. You will have a monthly installment payment added to your bill for 12 months. If you decide to keep the device, the installment payments will end after 20 months. It is kind of like renting your tablet or smartphone instead of buying it (or like doing a rent-to-own type of thing).

On the other hand, I can see some problems. If the newest version of a smartphone or tablet hits the market before your 12 months are over, you are still going to have to wait before you can upgrade to it. That may annoy some people who chose AT&T Next because they thought it would put the newest devices in their hands immediately.