Looking to both cut its smartphone subsidies and better compete against new/aggressively-priced service plans (I, II) from T-Mobile USA and Sprint, AT&T (T) is offering sizable discounts for its relatively costly Mobile Share plans to consumers who either buy a phone unsubsidized, sign up for AT&T's Next smartphone upgrade program, or have seen a contract tied to a subsidized phone sale expire.
Ma Bell is also launching an 18-month payment tier for Next, which allows users to obtain a smartphone with no money down, and pay for it on a monthly basis. Until now, Next required payments to be made over 12 months.
AT&T has already taken steps to lower its subsidy expenses, including the elimination of early upgrade promotions and the hiking of phone upgrade activation fees.
The discounts follow a Q3 during which AT&T saw a mere 363K wireless postpaid net adds, with growth only positive due to 388K tablet adds. Verizon, on the other hand, saw 927K retail postpaid net adds.