AT&T sells the Galaxy S6 for zero-down if you want to pay for the new phone each month instead of all at once. This new type of plan offers an easier way to buy the Galaxy S6 for many users, but is the AT&T Next program a good deal?
In this article we compare AT&T Next vs AT&T two-year contract pricing and plans to help you choose the best option for your wallet and your needs. The AT&T Galaxy S6 price is essentially the same, but there are cheaper plans if you choose the AT&T Next plan — which is where savings add up.
Some users are already on a discounted Mobile Share Value plans as part of a promotion when the new plans launched, so going with a contract could increase your monthly plan. If you aren’t on AT&T Next and your plan is $15 to $25 less than the typical Mobile Share Value Plan prices you are already getting a discount that disappears if you opt for a contract.
After months of special plans, we still hear from readers asking us, “What’s better? AT&T Next or a AT&T contract?”
The answer to this important question varies based on how much data you use, how many lines you add and a variety of other factors that make it a very personal decision. While we can’t run the numbers for your specific plan and needs, you can use our comparison chart and advice below to get an idea of how this works out over the long run.
Most users are familiar with the standard way of buying a cell phone on a AT&T contract. For the Galaxy S6 the user pays $199 up front for a two-year contract and AT&T delivers the $485 discount that makes up the difference between the off contract price of $684.99. The discount is what locks you in to the AT&T contract for two years. If you choose to leave AT&T before the contract is over you must pay an early termination fee, or ETF, of $325. The ETF drops $10 a month for each month you are on contract.
If you decide you want to upgrade before the contract is over you will need to pay full price for the phone — normally $600 to $700. This makes it more expensive to upgrade before the two-year contract is over.
The AT&T Next plan changes things up, splitting the Galaxy S6 price up into monthly payments with no money down at the time of purchase. In this case you don’t need to sign a service contract, but you are signing a payment contract to pay for the phone over a period of 20, 24 or 30 months. If you decide to quit using AT&T you are still responsible for the full price of the phone even if you don’t want to use AT&T anymore.
Unlike the Verizon Edge program that only offers a 24-month payment plan option AT&T offers;
- AT&T Next 12 – Payments for 20 months,
- AT&T Next 18 – Payments for 24 months,
- AT&T Next 24 – Payments for 30 months.
The first number lets you know how soon you can upgrade and the second is when the full price of the phone is paid off. if you trade in at 12, 18 or 24 months and the phone isn’t paid in full you need to trade in the phone to upgrade at that stage. In this case you still owe $130 to $300.
If you choose the AT&T Next 24 plan you can upgrade every two years and you pay $22.84 per month. You pay $0 down when you buy the phone, but payments start with your next bill. You may need to pass a credit check to use the monthly installment plan options.
You can use the AT&T Next payment options with a single line or with multiple lines. If you buy multiple plans you can still save the $15 or $25 a month on each line.
If you don’t have $199 to spend on the AT&T Galaxy S6, but still want a new phone you can use the comparison below to figure out if the AT&T Next plan or AT&T two-year contract is a better deal for you. The comparison below uses the AT&T Next 24 payment plan option for a single user. For families you are best off making a comparison on the AT&T website. Not all lines on the account need to use the AT&T Next option.
AT&T Next vs AT&T 2 Year Contract Pricing
|AT&T Plan||Due at Purchase||Activation Fee||Next 24 Payments||Monthly Service||Total Cost 1st Year||Total Cost Two Years||Total Cost End of Payments|
|AT&T Contract, 1GB Mobile Share Value||$199.99||$40||$0||$65||$1,020||$1,800||$1,800|
|AT&T Next 24, 1GB Mobile Share Value||$0||$0||$22.84||$50||$874||$1,748||$1,885|
|AT&T Contract, 3GB Mobile Share Value||$199.99||$40||$0||$80||$1,200||$2,160||$2,160|
|AT&T Next 24, 3GB Mobile Share Value||$0||$0||$22.84||$65||$1,054||$2,108||$2,245|
|AT&T Contract, 6GB Mobile Share Value||$199.99||$40||$0.00||$110||$1,560||$2,880||$2,880|
|AT&T Next 24, 6GB Mobile Share Value||$0||$0||$22.84||$95||$1,414||$2,828||$2,965|
|AT&T Contract, 10GB Mobile Share Value||$199.99||$40||$0||$140||$1,920||$3,600||$3,600|
|AT&T Next 24, 10GB Mobile Share Value||$0||$0||$22.84||$115||$1,654||$3,308||$3,445|
|AT&T Contract, 15GB Mobile Share Value||$199.99||$40||$0.00||$170||$2,280||$4,320||$4,320|
|AT&T Next 24, 15GB Mobile Share Value||$0||$0||$22.84||$145||$2,014||$4,028||$4,165|
In every case above, the AT&T Next plan is a better deal than the AT&T contract price or equal in the case of the 1GB plan. That’s over two years and assumes you will trade in the phone. With this plan there is still $137 due over six months as part of a 30 month plan. This complicates the value of each of these options, but you can still make a decision because the final column includes the price if you pay for the full value of the phone.
For users who need 6GB of data or less, the contract is the best option if you don’t want to upgrade early. For anyone who needs 10GB or more of data the AT&T Next plans offer a better deal. this plan is better if you want to upgrade or if you can manage the monthly payment plan instead of the up front payment. Keep in mind that you will need to pay taxes up front with the contract option and monthly with the AT&T Next plan.
No matter which option you choose, make sure you get enough data for your needs. Paying for data that costs more than your plan includes is the fastest way to waste money.
OtterBox Galaxy S6 Cases
Users that need a lot of protection should check out the Galaxy S6 OtterBox cases including the Defender and Commuter series that offer a lot of protection for the device.
OtterBox Defender Galaxy S6 cases come in seven colors for the shell and seven for the cover, allowing users to combine to get the color scheme they want. The case is $49.95 and there are higher-priced options with RealTree camo and with sports teams on the back. This case includes a screen protector and port covers to keep dust out of the ports. OtterBox Defender Review.
The OtterBox Galaxy S6 Commuter case is slimmer with less protection, but a more pocketable size that appeals to many users. The dual-layer protection can absorb drops and it includes a stick on-screen protector. This case is $34.95 with the same variety of color options. OtterBox Commuter Review.