Every wireless carrier wants you to think that it delivers the best smartphone early upgrade plan, but which carrier actually does? Re/code decided to crunch some numbers and found that AT&T actually delivers the plan with the lowest price, although you could certainly argue that T-Mobile gives you the most bang for your buck.

Calculating how much the average person is going to pay for a smartphone early upgrade plan is tricky, of course, because there are so many variables to consider and because carriers seem to go out of their way to make these plans more complicated than they need to be. To make things simpler, Re/code decided to compare what it would cost to upgrade to a 16GB iPhone 5s using individual plans from each major carrier to determine which one was the best bargain.

When factoring in program fees, monthly mobile device payments, monthly smartphone plans and upgrade fees, Re/code found that AT&T’s Next plan will cost you $1,170 per year if you subscribe to a 2GB data plan with unlimited voice and SMS. T-Mobile’s Jump program, however, wasn’t far behind: Re/code calculated that it will cost you $1,174 per year if you subscribe to a 3GB data plan with unlimited voice and SMS. For all intents and purposes this is basically a tie and T-Mobile actually seems to offer you a better deal because you get an extra GB of data each month and you won’t have to pay overage fees for it if you go over it.

Elsewhere, Re/code found that Sprint’s early upgrade program will cost you $12,61.08 per year, although it helps that you will get unlimited data on this particular plan. There are no such caveats that apply to Verizon’s early upgrade plan, however: Re/code found that it will cost you $1,404.96 per year for a 3GB plan, which was far and away the highest of any carrier.

Re/code’s full report is worth checking out and can be found by clicking the source link below.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.