T-Mobile spent the last year trying to UnCarrier the mobile industry. They pulled the subsidy cost out of their smartphone plans, removed contracts from their world, and overall tried to save customers money. With the addition of 1 million net subscribers in Q3, I’d say they are having some early success, all while raising their middle-finger at competitors. Those competitors have taken note, and AT&T is the first to react.
In an announcement this morning, AT&T has introduced a new “no annual service contract” Mobile Share plan that removes $15 from the monthly cost should you bring your own phone, buy one at full retail, sign-up for AT&T’s Next monthly payment phone plan, or hang on long enough to see your contract expire. One could look at that as removing the subsidy cost from the plan, though AT&T probably won’t ever admit that publicly.
AT&T also adjusted their Mobile Share rates, with some coming in slightly higher in the lower tiers, yet dropping significantly in the higher tiers. (Find those below in the chart.)
But back to this new “no annual service contract” plan, your deal looks something like this. You pay a $25 monthly fee to activate a smartphone on the line with unlimited talk and text. You then pick a Mobile Share data plan with specific amount of data, say 2GB for $55. As an individual, your monthly bill would roughly be $80 without a contract. In the old plans, you would have paid $45 for the line and $50 for the 2GB of data, bringing your total to $95 per month (along with a 2-year contract).
That’s not a bad price, especially when you look at the 4G LTE build-out from AT&T that we have seen over the last year. So again, you have to bring your own phone, pay full price for one up front, or sign-up for AT&T Next. Also, should you be under contract with the new plans, you should see an automatic change to the off-contract pricing once your contract is fulfilled. If you have a current contract and Mobile Share, you may want to contact AT&T when your contract is done to see about getting on one of the new plans.
If you decide that you want a contract (or a subsidized/cheap phone), you are now only paying $40 per smartphone line no matter how much data you consume. In the past, that rate varied depending on the amount of data, ranging from $50 to $30 per month. (Again, all of that in the chart below.)
Any bets on when Verizon announces something similar?