Best AT&T phone upgrade deals
Thinking about upgrading your AT&T phone?
Before you go down to your local AT&T store, check out some of these budget-friendly alternative online phone deals.
You might be surprised how much you could save with no compromises and without leaving the comfort of your own home!
Best AT&T iPhone upgrade deals
AT&T iPhone SE deals
AT&T iPhone 12 deals
AT&T iPhone 11 deals
Best AT&T Galaxy upgrade deals
AT&T Galaxy A11 deals
AT&T Galaxy A21 deals
AT&T Galaxy A51 deals
AT&T Galaxy S20 5G deals
AT&T refurbished phones
AT&T phone upgrades
Let's take a look at how upgrading works with AT&T.
- Available on basic phones (smartphones are only available under AT&T Next & Next Every Year)
- Must sign a 20-month payment agreement
- Must have well-qualified credit
- Must maintain a service plan on the device
Next and Next Every Year are AT&T's early upgrade plans.
- Finance a smartphone for 30 months
- Upgrade with trade in of financed device after 80% of your device balance is paid (24 months, earlier if you make an optional down payment)
- Own your phone after making all payments
AT&T Next Every Year
- Finance a smartphone for 24 months
- Trade up after 50% is paid (after 12 months, earlier if down payment made)
- Own your phone after making all payments
Although Next is technically a purchase plan if you keep trading in for an upgrade the plan essentially works like a lease.
There is no extra monthly charge for the Next programs, however, you must maintain a service plan that costs at least $45 per month after autopay and paperless billing discounts are applied.
AT&T Plans With Upgrade
This carrier offers two types of plans:
- Mobile Share Flex - prices range from $45 to $120 after discounts
- AT&T Unlimited & More - starts at $70 per line, comes with 30 TV channels
Cost example with device payment:
Samsung Galaxy S9: $26 per month
Mobile Share Flex with 5GB of data: $70 per month
$96 per month total cost, plus fees and taxes.
Cons of upgrading with AT&T Next:
- If you have less than great credit you'll have to make a 30% down payment on your device.
- Your device must be in good condition to qualify for trade-in.
- You're stuck with the carrier until your phone is paid off because device financing operates like a contract.
- It's somewhat deceptive because you're paying less per month to upgrade earlier, but that keeps you in the cycle of never owning your device unless you pay off the entire balance. This means that if you keep upgrading you're essentially leasing your phone and will never get anything out of it.
AT&T refurbished phone benefits
Want to break the cycle? Buy a used smartphone outright and switch to a cheaper cell phone plan (I'll get to those details in a minute).
More and more often people are choosing to buy a refurbished phone because of the high cost of new flagship smartphones. Additionally, the changes made from one model to the next are typically minor, making it a waste to continually shell out $1000 each year just for the privilege.
Benefits of buying used include:
- Savings of about 50% off the retail price
- Freedom to take your paid-off, unlocked phone to any carrier you want
- Wide range of late-model devices available from reputable sellers
- Typically generous return policies in the event of something wrong
- Third-party warranties and insurance available to protect your investment
Key factors when buying a refurbished phone
Here's what to keep in mind while shopping for a secondhand device:
- Refurbished vs. used: Used cell phones are sold as-is. Refurbished devices have been repaired and restored either by the factory or a third-party. Refurbs are more likely to come with a guarantee or warranty.
- Warranties: Each seller site has its own system in place. Decluttr offers 12 months. Swappa, on the other hand, connects you directly to the seller so they don't offer a warranty of their own.
- Return policies: Most phone seller sites offer a 30-day return period. Swappa allows you to request a return if the item was not as advertised.
- Shipping: Shipping is usually free.
- Certified phones: Some seller sites, like Decluttr and Gazelle, put their devices through a rigorous testing process.
- Phone insurance: There are third-party device protection companies, which can give you peace of mind when buying used.
- Phone financing: Gazelle is a seller with a monthly payment option. The interest is typically high on these arrangements so we recommend you pay in full if at all possible.
Cheap AT&T cell phone plans
Once you've got your new-to-you unlocked phone you're then free to shop around for a cheaper cell phone plan.
Switching to an AT&T MNVO
MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. All that means is that a smaller wireless company leases space on one of the big four networks and sells the service to you at a lower cost.
How can low cost carriers sell you service so cheaply? They don't have the massive overhead and marketing costs of the major providers, and they pass those savings along to their customers.
AT&T MVNO benefits
- The same reliable 4G LTE network you're used to
- Rates up to 50% or more cheaper than the competition
- Flexibility to bring your own phone - and phone number
- Custom plans so you don't pay for anything you don't need
- Easy signup, typically done by ordering a new SIM card online
- 24/7 customer service in many cases
- No contracts or credit checks
Not sure if you'll really save money by switching carriers? Calculate your potential savings now.
COMPARE NOW: Cheap AT&T cell phone plans
Sell your old AT&T phone for cash
So you've made it through all of the steps to get a cheaper cell phone and reduce your wireless bills. There's one thing left to do to maximize the cash you put back in your wallet - sell your old cell phone.
Selling your unused device:
- Puts cash into your pocket right away
- Is environmentally responsible
- Is simple and fast
You can usually use the same sites to buy and sell used phones, making it easy and efficient.
Take your new knowledge and break the upgrade cycle! The steps are simple and will save you hundreds - possibly thousands - in the long run.
- Compare cell phone prices to find the best deal on a new phone from multiple sellers in one place.
- Compare cell phone plans from low-cost carriers.
- Sell your old phone for cash.
Pocket your savings and enjoy!