Commitment phobes, rejoice! Gadget geeks, you might like this, too.
Telecom giants are moving to allow customers to upgrade their tablet or smartphone after a year. AT&T today announced a program called AT&T Next, which cuts the typical two-year contract in half. It follows on the heels of a similar announcement from T-Mobile last week.
Starting July 26, AT&T customers will be able to get a new mobile device without having to pay a down payment, activation fee, upgrade fee or financing fee. Instead, AT&T Next customers will pay monthly installment fees, ranging from $15 to $50, depending on the device. If, at the end of the 12 months, a customer wants to try a new phone or tablet, they can upgrade without the typical costs. If a customer chooses to continue with the same device, they can pay an additional eight monthly installments.
"It's an incredible value for customers who want the latest and greatest every year," says Ralph de la Vega in a statement, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility, a division of AT&T.
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The move is an effort to get customers, beyond gadget geeks and technophiles, to upgrade their smartphone or tablet device more frequently. Bellevue, Wash.-based telecom giant T-Mobile has launched a program called JUMP!, which allows customers to upgrade their smartphones up to two times a year after they have been in the program for six months.
"At some point, big wireless companies made a decision for you that you should have to wait two years to get a new phone for a fair price," said John Legere, moved attribution up president and CEO of T-Mobile U.S., in a statement. "That's 730 days of waiting. 730 days of watching new phones come out that you can't have, or having to live with a cracked screen or an outdated camera. We say two years is just too long to wait."
Customers pay $10 a month per phone to participate in T-Mobile's JUMP! program, plus taxes and fees. That fee protects broken, damaged, lost or stolen phones, and costs depend on the smartphone or tablet selected.