That sound you hear is more loud crowing from T-Mobile CEO John Legere. ConsumerReports has done a good breakdown comparing the new early upgrade plans from T-Mobile and AT&T and has found that AT&T’s plan will cost you almost $300 more per year than the most expensive version of the T-Mobile plan. Although the cost of buying devices is roughly the same on both plans — AT&T doesn’t charge you any down payment but does charge higher monthly payments for buying the devices than T-Mobile does — T-Mobile’s lower monthly wireless service prices give it an annual price tag of $1,542 for unlimited data while AT&T’s higher rates give the AT&T Next plan an annual price tag of $1,830 with 3GB of data.
Of course, AT&T’s LTE network provides much better coverage and faster service than T-Mobile’s, so the comparison between the two plans isn’t as one-sided as it seems. And an AT&T representative notes that one advantage of AT&T’s no-down-payment plan is that “if you’re going to upgrade regularly with JUMP, you’ll pay a lot of down payments, which is less smooth than our plan – when you upgrade, you just turn in your device and keep paying only the new phone’s monthly payment.” Even so, anyone looking for a bargain plan that will give you the freedom to upgrade your smartphone twice a year will likely give T-Mobile’s JUMP plan a long, hard look.
UPDATE: AT&T writes in to say that ConsumerReports should have also included cheaper AT&T plans, including a plan that’s $110 per month that includes 4GB of data and unlimited text and voice, along with a $90 monthly plan that includes 3GB of data and 450 minutes of voice calls along with unlimited texts. Neither of these plans fully closes the gap with the unlimited voice, text and data plan that T-Mobile is offering, however.