AT&T is finally simplifying the way it sells smartphones

Buying a smartphone used to be a relatively straightforward experience. You'd simply walk into your local carrier and fork over some cash for a new device and, more often than not, a new 2-year contract.

But over time, carriers got tired of subsidizing pricey smartphones, a sentiment which quickly ushered in the era of installment pricing. Today, buying a new smartphone or upgrading to a new device can be an exercise in frustration thanks to a dizzying matrix of installment plan pricing options.

To help alleviate the frustration, AT&T today announced a welcome change to its smartphone purchasing plan that promises to make the overall upgrade experience much simpler.

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Beginning on June 9, AT&T will pare down the number of its installment payment options from four down to two. The new payment options for both existing and new customers now looks like this:

  • AT&T Next Every Year: Upgrade to a new device every year, with a 24-month financing program term.
  • AT&T Next: Upgrade every 2 years, with a 30-month financing program term.

In short, users intent on always having the latest and greatest smartphones can do so simply by paying a little bit more every month. Assuming a smartphone with a base price of $700, the AT&T Next Every Year plan will cost users about $6 more a month.

Additionally, customers also have the option to either make a down payment or trade-in their current device and apply that value towards a new device.

AT&T's simplified installment plan matrix now looks like this.