updated 01:59 pm EST, Tue January 21, 2014
Customers on a two-year plan before January 19th can use AT&T Next
AT&T is revising the terms of its early upgrade plan, by allowing existing subscribers to sign up to the plan mid-contract. Customers on a two-year commitment with the company before January 19th will be eligible for AT&T Next once they hit the six-month milestone, with subscribers also able to switch over to the carrier's Mobile Share Value plans at the same time.
AT&T Next is an installment plan for the carrier's smartphones, which allows customers to trade in their device anytime after 12 or 18 months for an upgraded model, or alternately continue to use the smartphones for 20 or 26 months and eliminate the installment plan altogether. Though the move is likely a welcome one for current AT&T customers, the changes will not apply to everyone. CNET reports that anyone that signed up for a two-year commitment with the carrier from January 19th onwards will still have to wait 20 months before being able to upgrade, be it through normal upgrading processes or via AT&T Next.
The changes in AT&T Next come shortly after similar alterations by Verizon for its Edge upgrade program, lowering the upgrade time from 6 months to just 30 days. It is difficult to say how much of the changes by AT&T and Verizon are down to pressure from T-Mobile and its own early-upgrade Jump program, as well as its recent offer to pay the early termination fees of customers migrating from other carriers. T-Mobile revealed during CES that it added 1.65 million customers in the fourth quarter, while Verizon recently claimed 1.7 million extra subscribers to its wireless service. AT&T has yet to announce its quarterly figures.