AT&T is courting T-Mobile customers hard in 2014, now offering them up to $450 per line to switch their service to its network, but is it a good deal? On Friday, AT&T announced it will give T-Mobile customers a $200 credit for every line they transfer. In addition the mobile service provider is offering up to $250 on trade-in phones, allowing customers to get as much as $450 in savings just for switching from T-Mobile. While there are some stipulations to the plan, for many this deal may be somewhat tempting as long as you are aware of all the facts. To help you decide whether or not to make the switch, we've written a breakdown of the AT&T offer for T-Mobile customers. We've done a comparison of cost and savings on the AT&T "Next" plan vs. T-Mobile's trade in "Jump" plan and shown you which deal is the best for your situation and needs.
T-Mobile To AT&T Next Plan Switch Requirements
Ok, so for T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T the first stipulation is, you must sign up for the company's "AT&T Next" plan, while also activating a phone or buying a new one at full retail price. AT&T will give customers who switch from T-Mobile a promotion card worth up to $250 in AT&T credit for every smartphone trade-in. How do they determine what you trade-in credit will be? The trade-in is assed based on three criteria: the type of device, its age, and quality. There is not currently any information available on which devices are eligible for the full $250 dollar, but our guess is they would likely be newer devices like the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S4.
What Is The AT&T Next Plan? Is It A Good Deal For T-Mobile Customers?
The AT&T Next plan being offered to T-Mobile customers who switch may not be perfect for every customer, but does offer a very nice twist to what T-Mobile has been doing with it's Simple Choice and Jump Plan. With T-Mobile, customers choose a Simple Choice plan for each of their devices ranging from $50-80 depending on how much high-speed data you want. The T-Mobile Simple Choice plan has been ground-breaking in many ways because it not only offers an very affordable pricing scale, the plans allow for unlimited use of data, no additional charges or fees, and no contract.
In addition, T-Mobile has been the first mobile provider to offer affordable monthly payment plans for new devices that end after the 24-month pay off date has been reached. The Simple Choice and device payment plans offered by T-Mobile have been part of a new and disruptive strategy the company adopted in 2013 to expand its customer base. It seems the philosophy is to give customers what they really want, and that is a hassle free plan, free of strings and complicated charges and with zero commitment.
Up until this point, T-Mobile's offerings have been the very best option available for smartphone owners who are watching their budgets, but taking a look at AT&T's Next plan, T-Mobile could lose a few customers who like to update their devices regularly. The AT&T Next plan builds off of what T-Mobile offers with its Simple Choice and smartphone payment plans by allowing customers to choose a smartphone and begin making payments on it in an either a 20 or 26-month plan. This fee for the phone would be added to whatever service plan you choose with AT&T just like it is with T-Mobile's payment plans.
But here's where the twist comes in. If you are on a 20 or 26-month payment plan, and reach your 12 or 18th months, respectively, of payments you are then eligible to trade-in the phone for a new one and the process begins again. If instead of trading in you decide to keep your phone and make payments to the end of the 20 or 26-month period, then you own the phone and the monthly fee for it disappears. For those who upgrade their phones frequently, this deal would be well worth considering. While T-Mobile may be able to beat its competitor in terms of monthly data plan costs, for those who regularly update their phones, the AT&T next plan may be superior. To illustrate, let's breakdown a comparison of costs for an iPhone 5S under different conditions with T-Mobile And AT&T
AT&T "Next" Plan Vs. T-Mobile "Jump" Plan: Which Trade In Plan Saves You The Most Money?
Ok, for the sake of comparison, we're going to use the 16GB iPhone 5S. If you sign up for T-Mobile payment plan, you will be required to put $50 down on the iPhone 5S and then pay 24 monthly installments of $25. At the end of the 2-year period, the iPhone 5S would have cost you $650 dollars.
For the same 16GB iPhone 5S through AT&T, customer pay no money down, but the payment plans are either 20 or 26 month plans. For a 20-month plan customer pay $ 32.50 per month. If you stick with the phone for the 20 months, you will have spent $641 on the iPhone 5S. This is $9 dollars less than what you would pay over 24 months with T-Mobile. Big whoop right? At that point they are roughly even.
Now, T-Mobile also has considered those who like to upgrade frequently. It offers a "Jump" plan which allows for upgrading as frequently as every 6 months for a tacked on $10 dollars a month. With this in mind, if you bought the iPhone 5S right now and in 6 months the iPhone 6 comes out, with T-Mobile's "Jump" plan you would have paid $50 down on the iPhone 5S plus $150 for six months of payments and $60 on the "Jump" plan for a grand total of $260. If you upgrade right then, it would basically be like getting a $381 trade-in on your old phone. Nice right? Just be prepared to make that upgrade every 6 months, which may sound good, but would probably be a pain in the tail.
If you wait for a year the deal isn't nearly so nice because at that point you've paid $50 down, $300 in monthly installments, and $120 on the Jump plan. This means to upgrade you've already put out $470 which is equivalent to getting about $170 for your trade-in. Eh, it's ok but nothing to write home about.
With AT&T's Next plan, if you are more of a yearly updater, this plan is superior. If you choose to trade-in your phone after 12 months of payments, you will have only paid $390 for your iPhone 5S, which in essence would be like getting a $251 credit for your trade-in, provided it works and is in good condition. This is $71 dollars more you would save by trading in than if you use T-Mobile's Jump plan after 12 months.
While there are certainly some caveats to each competitor's plan, it won't be surprising if T-Mobile isn't given a little run for its money. Ever since the failed buy-out of T-Mobile by AT&T in 2013, is seems the company has had its eye on the smaller mobile network and is doing it's best to try to steal away customers. The AT&T Next plan is just the latest strategy. And in reality, who can blame them? After all, every few months or so T-Mobile continues to delight customers with more of what they want, with 2014 looking like no exception, as the company has teased a possible family plan option for 2014. In addition it appears a few companies are seeing what a diamond in the rough T-Mobile has become as Sprint and Dish have both been putting out feelers in the last several months to buy out the mobile service provider.