Let’s take a look and compare AT&T’s recently launched “Next” phone upgrade option with Verizon’s upcoming “Edge” plan, scheduled to launch August 25. Both plans are geared towards gadget fanatics who want to get the newest technology as soon as released. Both companies also follow the lead of competing wireless service T-Mobile, who, in April starting allowing upgrades of phones every 6 months after the first 6 months of enrollment. A large distinction, however, between T-Mobile and that of AT&T and Verizon is that T-Mobile upgrades may require a down payment. A comparison of all three wireless carriers is on the way. But first, let’s compare Next and Edge.
AT&T Next launched on July 26, 2013. The plan allows you to enter into a 20-month agreement to purchase a phone or tablet which must include a wireless data and voice service agreement. There is no down payment required, nor are there any activation fees or finance charges. However, qualified individuals will need to pay the first month’s installment for the device on top of whatever service plan is chosen and sales tax. After 12 months, customers in good standing can upgrade the phone or tablet with no fees or penalties applied. Customers can also continue to make the remaining 8 months of payments until the phone is paid off, at which time the customer owns the phone.
Verizon’s Edge plan, though not officially launched until August 25 so details are subject to change, will essentially offer the same type of agreement except spread out over 24 months. The plan will not require any down payment, upgrade fees, finance charges, or plan fees (no more $2 nickel and diming you might say). At 12 months, or when 50% of the installments are paid after the first 6 months, the Verizon Edge plan will let you upgrade your phone to a new one.
What’s probably most appealing to those of us who have felt trapped in a long-term service contract agreements is that neither AT&T nor Verizon (following the lead of T-Mobile Jump) require service contracts. You are, however, entering into a long-term contract to purchase the device you choose. If you decide to cancel the wireless service with either carrier you are still obligated to pay off the balance of the phone. There’s the trap, if you wanted to know.
Here’s a breakdown of major distinctions:
|Upgrades||12 Months||After 6 months or 50% paid|
|Unlimited Data Plans Applicable||Yes||No|
|Number of Payments||20 Months||24 Months|
AT&T’s Next plan will allow you to upgrade your phone or tablet every 12 months (on a 20-month agreement). Verizon’s Edge plan lets you get a new phone
or tablet every 12 months (on a 24-month agreement) or when 50% of the device is paid off.
Neither Edge or Next require down payments on the device. However, the first month’s installment with any sales tax will be due upon sign-up.
Upgrade Fees & Finance Charges
Neither Edge nor Next charge upgrade fees, finance charges, or fees to be in plan.
AT&T Edge does not charge an activation fee. Verizon currently charges a $35 activation fee per line.
An AT&T service representative told us any phone would be eligible to be financed with the exception of prepaid GoPhones. With Verizon, sources first indicated there would be a finance minimum of $349 for a new phone
or tablet. However, a Verizon representative told Gadget Review there would be no minimum.
Both companies have removed the requirement of a long term service contract and instead offer month-to-month service. However, you still have a contract the pay off the phone.
Unlimited Data Plans
AT&T will let you keep your existing plan, even if Unlimited Data. Verizon Edge will not be available for customers with Unlimited data plans.
Both plans are available for new customers and existing customers eligible for the upgrade. Verizon Edge customers will need to be on Share Everything plans.
Monthly Payment Amount
Because AT&T Next will spread out payments on a device over 20 months rather than Verizon Edge over 24 months, you can expect to pay a little bit more per month with AT&T. If your intention is keeping monthly costs as low as possible, Verizon would be the winner in this category.
AT&T Next vs Verizon Edge Score Chart
|Upgrade Wait Time||Verizon Edge||Because with Verizon’s Next you can actually get an upgrade after being 6 months in the plan if you’ve paid 50% of the total price of the phone.|
|Down Payments||Tie||Neither carrier requires a down payment, only the first installment and any sales tax.|
|Upgrade Fees||Tie||Neither carrier charges upgrade fees.|
|Finance Charges||Tie||Neither carrier applies finance charges.|
|Activation Feed||AT&T Next||Verizon will charge a $35 activation fee per line.|
|Plan Fee||Tie||Neither carrier charges a fee to be in the upgrade plan.|
|Finance Minimum||Tie||Verizon said there will be no minimum finance amount for new phones (thus negating $349 min. previously reported). AT&T will finance most phones except for prepaid GoPhones.|
|Unlimited Data Plan||AT&T Next||According to sources, Verizon Edge will not be eligible with Unlimited Data plans.|
|Monthly Payments||Verizon Edge||TBD|