Rob Pegoraro's post | Latest updates on Sulia
I'm having a hard time finding what's good about AT&T's new "Next" deal... maybe getting a phone unlocked earlier?
AT&T's new Next wireless-service option (http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/next.html) may please habitual upgraders, but the frugally minded should run away.
Consider the case of a Samsung Galaxy S 4. Today, you can pay $199.99 upfront and can't upgrade at a discounted price until two years later--but then you keep the old one for backup or resale. (PCMag.com's Sascha Segan does the math here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2421840,00.asp)
Starting July 26, you could pay $32 a month over 20 months for an S 4--but since service costs the same either way, after six months you're lining AT&T's pockets. By the time you'd exercise Next's every-year upgrade, you'd be out $384, and you'd have to return the old model.
The one upgrade I see--not a cheap one!--is AT&T's willingness to unlock a Next phone once you pay the full price ($639.99 for an S 4), instead of making you wait until the contract ends.