The four major U.S. cellular carriers have announced new plans that will allow customers to upgrade their iPhones or iPads more frequently, or receive unlimited data. Three of the new plans appear to be similar, with one carrier’s new plan going in a different direction:
- AT&T introduced its AT&T Next program today. The plan allows users to get a new AT&T iPhone or iPad each year with no down payment, activation fee, upgrade fee, or financing fees. Customers must pay a monthly device installment fee for 12 months, with fees varying based on the device. After making 12 monthly payments, customers can trade in the used device for a new device. If keeping the device, the installment payments end after 20 months. The AT&T Next program starts on July 26.
- T-Mobile’s recently announced JUMP! program is somewhat similar to AT&T’s program, though only for phones. iPhone users can upgrade their phone twice each year after a six-month waiting period, for an extra $10 monthly fee. This program is already in effect.
- Verizon (updated July 18, 2013) officially introduced its own device upgrade plan, Verizon Edge. Verizon Edge offers a flexible monthly payment plan that lets users spread the retail price of a phone over 24 months. The program will then let users trade in the phone and upgrade to a new phone after six months, if 50 percent of the retail cost of the user’s current phone has been paid. It will be available to Share Everything plan customers on Aug. 25.
- Sprint recently introduced its Sprint Unlimited Guarantee. Unlike the other three carriers, Sprint’s new plan is unrelated to upgrading devices. The Sprint Unlimited Guarantee lets customers lock in unlimited talk, text, and data on the Sprint network for life when signing up for the new Unlimited, My Way or My All-in plans. These plans are currently available, and start at $80 per month.