AT&T has an impressive catalog of phones for you to choose from, many of which can be purchased through the two financing programs.

AT&T offers the following payment options for their phones:

  • RRP (pay the full price up front)
  • AT&T Installment Plan (30 months of installments)
  • AT&T Next Up (30 months of installments with upgrade early option)

AT&T allows you to pay off your phone upfront or over the course of 30 months

iPhone XS

iPhones from AT&T

AT&T carries the newest iPhone releases, such as the iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR, all of which are available through AT&T Next and AT&T Next Year. If you’re on a budget, they also have older models, both new and restored, for sale. They often offer deals for their devices, so be sure to be on the lookout!

Top 10 iPhones available right now (full list of AT&T iPhones here)

Compare AT&T’s Full Phones Range

Samsung Galaxy S10+

Android Phones Available from AT&T

AT&T offers a wide range of Android phone for sale. From Samsung to RED to Alcatel to LG, AT&T offers a broad range of brands. Flagship phones from Samsung, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S10+, and Samsung Galaxy S10e, are available, as well as the LG V40 ThinQ and RED Hydrogen One.

Top 10 Android Phones available right now (full list of AT&T Android phones here)

Compare AT&T’s Full Phones Range

Prepaid Phones from AT&T

As their name implies, prepaid phones from AT&T must be paid for upfront. Depending on which phone you’re interested in, this can be quite expensive. In fact, the RRP of the top devices can run over $1,000. That said, there are some older models ranging from $250 to $650, and flip phones priced around $50.

Compare AT&T’s Full Phones Range

How to Buy a New Phone on AT&T

There are three different ways in which you can buy a phone from AT&T: buying the phone outright, financing it through AT&T installment plan, or financing it through AT&T installment plan with Next Up. The majority of AT&T’s phones can be financed, with the exception of select prepaid phones.

Buying an AT&T Smartphone Outright

The most straightforward way to pick up an AT&T cell phone is to buy it outright. You add the phone to your cart, pay for it in full, and then own it, free and clear. Of course, this is easy in theory but often difficult in practice. Smartphones can cost as high as $1599.99 at RRP (for the Samsung Galaxy S10+ with 1024GB of storage). For most of us who are ballin’ on a budget, that’s not a realistic option. Still determined to avoid making monthly payments? AT&T carries affordable prepaid phones, as well as AT&T Certified Restored phones, which are pre-owned phones that have been refurbished.

Let’s Talk Tip: Be aware that if you buy your phone outright, there may be service requirements, like using the phone on a specific plan.

Buying an AT&T Smartphone Via Installments

The majority of AT&T’s smartphones are available for purchase through the carrier’s monthly 0% interest/0% down installment plans, AT&T Installment Plan and AT&T Installment Plan with Next Up, both of which consist of 30 monthly payments.

AT&T splits up the price into even monthly payments. The option of putting 0% down is only available for well-qualified customers who have passed a credit check. Customers who don’t qualify for this financing program may be required to put 30% down before the remainder of the sales price is divided into low monthly installments. Further, you can always decide to put down a custom amount that works for you; this will reduce your monthly payments.

Although these AT&T financing programs are contract-free, that doesn’t mean that you can leave at any time and own your phone. If you decide to leave AT&T for a different carrier, you will be required to pay the remaining balance on your smartphone at the time of your departure.

Only well-qualified buyers with good credit have the option of putting 0% down

iPhone XR

AT&T Installment Plan & AT&T Next Up Compared

AT&T Installment Plan and AT&T Installment Plan with Next Up are both great financing programs. Which one you choose depends on your personal preferences and priorities.

  • AT&T Installments: 30 monthly payments. The user is only eligible for an upgrade when the device has been paid off in full.
  • AT&T Next Up: 30 monthly payments plus an extra $5/month. The user is eligible for an upgrade with eligible trade-in when they have paid off 50% of the sales price.

The base amount you pay for your device each month will cost the same whether you choose the first or second financing option—the difference lies in the extra $5/month for the AT&T Next Up program and the upgrade policy.

In short, if you’d rather be eligible for an upgrade every 15 months and don’t mind the additional $5 monthly fee you’ll be paying, then it’d be best to go with the AT&T Next Up option. This is probably the best payment plan for someone who is into having the latest and greatest smartphone releases. Conversely, if having the newest device on the market isn’t a priority for you, you may prefer the AT&T Installment Plan option to save yourself some extra cash each month.

Unlike some carriers, you don’t wind up paying more for the phone in the long run if you choose the AT&T Installment Plan. Whatever the RRP is for the phone, your payments are that figure divided by 30. If you go with AT&T Next Up, you upgrade after 50% of the device has been paid off so you never wind up paying more than the RRP, although you do have to fork over an additional $5/month. Of course, if you choose AT&T Next Up, you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of the early upgrade offer or else you wind up paying more than the retail price of the phone over the 30-month period.

AT&T Installment Plan & AT&T Next Up Compared

Example AT&T Installments AT&T Next Up
Samsung Galaxy S10 128GB RRP $899.99 $899.99
Payment length 30 months 30 months
Monthly installments $30/month $35/month
Upgrade after 30 months 15 months
Total paid before trade-in $900 $525.00
Option to pay all installments and own phone (no trade-in) Yes Yes
Total paid over installment period (no trade-in) $900 $1,050

Trade-in and Upgrade

Are you a customer on the AT&T 30-month Installment Plan? Unfortunately, you don’t have the option trade in your device and upgrade until the entire device has been paid off (after 30 months, unless you choose to pay it off sooner in larger amounts).

If you’re a customer on the AT&T Next Up program, you have the option of trading in your phone and upgrading after 50% of your device has been paid off—this equates to every 15 months.

If you aren’t sure if you’re eligible for an upgrade or not, login to myAT&T or the myAT&T App to view the upgrade options for each device on the account. Choose the device you want to upgrade to in order to discern its upgrade status. It will read either “Ready to upgrade” or “Choose another upgrade option.”

If your smartphone is ready for an upgrade, select “Upgrade,” and complete the next steps in order to purchase it. AT&T will mail you an envelope for you to return your current phone in, or you can take your phone to a retail store and return it and upgrade there.

Your phone must work and be in good physical condition to be eligible for upgrade or trade-in

How to Upgrade

There are three ways to upgrade through the AT&T financing programs. These include:

  • Upgrade Eligible: Once you’ve paid off 50% of your phone on AT&T Next Up or 100% of your device on the Installment Plan, you are eligible to trade in your phone and upgrade.
  • Pay to Upgrade: If you haven’t paid off the amount necessary to qualify for an upgrade, you can make a single payment to reach eligibility. Then you can proceed same as above—trade in your phone and upgrade.
  • Pay Off: Pay off your remaining balance at any time, keep your phone, and buy a new one.

If you own your phone, then you can trade it in and receive credit on your AT&T account. You can use this credit towards the purchase of a new phone. Depending on the model of your phone, this may be more cost-effective than trading in after paying 100% on installments.