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AT&T streamlines its phone financing plans

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Next and Next Every Year replace the prior four options starting on June 8th

AT&T today announced a revised set of financing plans for its smartphone customers that shrink the options available from four to two. Called Next and Next Every Year, the new plans will replace the Next 12, Next 18, Next 24, and Next with Down Payment options starting on June 8th. While simpler and possibly easier to understand than AT&T's confusingly named (for example, the "Next 24" plan is actually a 30-month payment plan) existing options, the new plans remove options that allowed customers to pay off their phones in fewer installments.

The Next plan is essentially the Next 24 plan with a new name. It splits the cost of a device over 30 equal installments and lets customers "upgrade" by trading in their device after 24 payments. Next Every Year is closer to the Next 18 option, but with upgrades available sooner. It is a 24-month payment plan with trade-in upgrades available after 12 months. Gone is the option to pay off your phone in less than 24 equal payments, as provided by the outgoing Next 12 plan. AT&T does say that customers that wish to pay off their phone sooner than the plans provide will be able to make extra payments on top of the regular monthly installments. Both new plans also allow for a 30 percent down payment, which will reduce the monthly cost. AT&T says that a $749 phone (which would be equivalent to a 16GB iPhone 6S Plus or 64GB iPhone 6S) will cost $25 per month on Next and $31.25 on Next Every Year. In addition, AT&T charges a $20 one-time "activation fee" for customers that sign up for Next plans.

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