AT&T has announced the realignment of its Mobile Share plan slate this morning by cutting monthly fees for smartphones that are on and off-contract or being financed on AT&T Next, adding more financing options to Next and giving customers that bring their own device a substantial break on monthly service, at the expense of increased data pricing for some plans, with higher tiers getting cost reductions. A table comparing the new adjusted rates for smartphones to the old rates is posted below:
|Monthly Data Allowance Per Month||Old Mobile Share base rate||Old Mobile Share Rate per-additional smartphone||New Mobile Share Value base rate||New Mobile Share Value rate per-additional smartphone (on contract)||New Mobile Share Value rate per-additional smartphone (AT&T Next or no-contract)|
As can be seen from the above table, under its new Mobile Share Value plans, AT&T has now made the monthly smartphone connection fee for customers under contract a flat $40 for all plans regardless of how much data is purchased in the initial plan choice.
Now, off/no-contract customers benefit the most from the new rates as they’ll pay a flat connection fee of $25 per smartphone, with customers that complete a contract automatically getting the rate as well without having to call customer service. The $25 per-device rates also apply to those on AT&T Next financing plans, making the financing option much more compelling compared to the previous Mobile Share plan lineup, which previously had identical connection rates to those on a conventional 2-year agreement, despite the devices not being subsidized as such on the Next program.
Pricing adjustments have also been made to monthly data allowances as well. In the most obvious change, the flat rate for AT&T’s 1GB plan goes up $5 from $40 to $45, while the 2GB plan has been increased from $50 to $55, another $5 increase. The hikes are offset by the new changes to the monthly smartphone connection fees for on and off-contract users, making those negligible in the long run for most customers.
The above per-device rates have also been cut for feature phones, from $30 to $20 per device, with the first feature phone now running $40 monthly, with data prices being decreased on the plan slate starting at the 6GB tier compared to the previous slate, with the prices decreasing the higher the base rate data allowance. No changes have been made to tablet pricing and it remains at $10/device.
With the new Mobile Share Value plan slate, AT&T is giving those that are off-contract from a previous agreement a financial incentive to stay with AT&T, while giving new customers that want to finance their device through AT&T Next or bring their own devices/pay full price an equal incentive to sign up and addresses two common complaints by two types of customers at the same time.
However, this new plan slate also makes service more expensive for those that want to sign a conventional 2 year agreement with device subsidies, with the slate only making sense after a number of devices are added, and may be a sign that AT&T wants to move away from conventional service agreements with subsidies as quickly as possible with the new plan slate, as evidenced substantial discounts for Next/off-contract/no-contract BYOD customers.
In related news, the AT&T Next financing program will add a new financing option with 18-month smartphone upgrades that have payments spread out over 26 months for up to four devices. Both the new Mobile Share Value plan slate and new AT&T Next financing option will launch on Sunday December 8th.