AT&T upgrades: Everything you need to know


Nov 25, 2020 — 4 min read

AT&T logo, with message highlighting cell phones upgrades and trade ins underneath.

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  • Upgrade your phone early with AT&T’s Next Up Program
  • Take advantage of promotional deals to get free and discounted phones with certain eligible trade-ins
  • Trade in your AT&T device for credit toward a new one or a promotional card to pay your monthly phone bill

AT&T Wireless wants to make sure its customers have access to the best and latest phones on the market. As a result, the company offers a handful of programs to make getting a new phone easier. The company offers an early upgrade program, allowing people to upgrade in just 15 months instead of on the standard timeline. And for those who have fully paid off their device, they can get trade-in value for more than $500, depending on the type of phone.

AT&T upgrades 

AT&T allows all customers to upgrade to a new device as soon as they pay off their current phone. The company’s payment plans typically range from 24-30 months, though customers can pay off their devices early.

Can you upgrade your phone early with AT&T?

For customers who don’t want to wait until they’ve fully paid off their phone to upgrade, AT&T offers early upgrades. This allows customers with an AT&T wireless plan to upgrade without fully paying off their phones.

What is AT&T Next Up?

AT&T Next Up is a program that customers can join to upgrade their phones early. To be eligible for this program, AT&T customers must be on an AT&T installment plan and pay an extra $5/mo. Once they join, customers can upgrade their phones as soon as they’ve paid off at least 50% of their current device. Keep in mind that when you upgrade early, you’ll have to return your current device.

AT&T’s installment plan is 30 months long, meaning customers can upgrade once they’ve been making payments for 15 months. Customers can’t sign up for the Next Up program at any time — they must sign up within 14 days of buying a new smartphone (or within 30 days, in the case of business customers).

AT&T upgrade deals

In addition to its standard upgrade and trade-in deals, AT&T also currently has a number of special phone deals for both new and existing customers.

  • Get an iPhone mini for free when you trade in certain eligible devices (for new and existing customers)
  • Get up to $700 off a new iPhone 12 Pro Max when you trade in certain eligible devices (for new and existing customers)
  • Get an iPhone 11 for $10/mo. when you trade in certain eligible devices (for well-qualified customers only)
  • Get a free Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G when you trade in certain eligible devices

How does AT&T’s trade-in program work?

Like many wireless phone companies, AT&T allows customers to trade in their current phones. Whether you’re a current customer or switching from another provider, AT&T provides either a credit toward a new phone or a promotional card that customers can use in-store or online to pay their bills or buy accessories. Customers can trade in up to five devices during any 12-month period.

The company determines the trade-in value of a phone by considering its make, model and condition, as well as any signs of wear. For those completing their trade-in in-store, the credit is available immediately. For those mailing in their device, they’ll receive a promotional card and must ship the old device within 30 days.

AT&T trade-in values

AT&T allows new and existing customers to trade in their current cellphone in exchange for credit toward a new phone. The company offers trade-in value on many popular phones, including iPhones and Galaxy phones. Trade-in values can be as high as $560 for some phones.

How to trade in your phone at AT&T

Are you considering trading in your current phone for credit toward a new device? To get started, simply follow these steps:

  1. Use AT&T’s online tool to determine the trade-in value of your current phone. You’ll provide information such as your phone’s model and storage size.
  2. Once you know what kind of trade-in value you can get for your phone and have decided you’re happy with it, AT&T will send you a prepaid shipping label to ship the device.
  3. AT&T will provide your trade-in value in one of two ways. The company either provides you with monthly bill credits, or you’ll receive a promotional card to use toward accessories or your monthly bill. You can use the promotional card either in-store or online. You can also choose to donate your trade-in value to the charity Cell Phones for Soldiers.

If you use AT&T’s online tool and find that your phone has no trade-in value, you can instead return it to the company to recycle by mailing it or dropping it in the recycle bin at your local AT&T store.

The bottom line

AT&T offers plenty of options for customers who want to make sure they always have the best and latest smartphones. Whether you’re upgrading your device early with AT&T’s Next Up program or trading in a device for credit on a new one, you can find a deal that works for you. And for customers looking to save even more, AT&T offers promotional deals to get a free or discounted phone with certain trade-ins.

By Erin Gobler

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