Investors have already been nervous about the impact a T-Mobile-driven price war stands to have on the top and bottom lines of rivals. AT&T mentioned adoption of its Mobile Share Value plans, which saw price cuts after T-Mobile announced a series of aggressive moves, are pressuring its ARPU.
Verizon, though offering some modest promotions, has generally stuck to a premium pricing strategy; its disappointing Q1 postpaid subscriber adds - 539K net adds with an estimated 95K decline for phones - fueled questions about whether a strategy change is needed. The fact AT&T expects to add 800K+ postpaid subs in Q2 might heighten those concerns.
Sprint has been more aggressive than Verizon, launching its low-cost Framily plans in January and heavily promoting them. But it lost 231K postpaid subs in Q1 as it scrambles to neutralize Verizon/AT&T's 4G coverage leads.
One encouraging AT&T datapoint: The carrier expects ~2/3 of postpaid smartphone subs to be on subsidy-free Mobile Share Value plans by year's end. Both AT&T and peers have made slashing subsidy spend a priority.