By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated February 03, 2014.
After taking blow after blow from T-Mobile in 2013, a more aggressive AT&T is now taking swing after swing at the fourth-largest wireless carrier that it once tried to acquire. AT&T’s latest move promises its best-ever prices for small businesses and families on its network.
With its new plan, AT&T is targeting people who want family-size buckets of data and unlimited talk and text on a reliable 4G LTE network. For example, a family of four can now get unlimited talk and text, and 10GB of data -- AT&T says that is enough for the whole family to share -- for $160 a month.
"These new plans give customers what they want -- our best-ever prices on a best-in-class network," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer at AT&T Mobility. "We're making it easy for families who want it all -- great service, great value and big bucket of data to share."
What’s the True Price?
Consumers and small businesses (with up to 10 lines) can tap into the new plans. In the name of transparency, AT&T offered a chart of phones and prices. Two smartphones with the specs outlined above go for $130 a month. Three smartphones go for $145. The price rises to $160 for four smartphones and $175 a month. Customers who want to add more than five lines simply add $15 a line.
New AT&T customers can get these prices when they sign up for 10GB or larger buckets of data and purchase phones with AT&T Next -- which offers devices with no annual service contract and new devices every year for $0 down -- or bring their own devices or purchase phones at full retail price.
AT&T offered what it says is a comparative example: Verizon charges $260 monthly for a comparable plan that's now $160 from AT&T. A family with four smartphones with unlimited talk and text, and a shared 10GB bucket of data, could switch to AT&T from Verizon and save $100 a month.
Current AT&T customers can also save with these new plans when they choose 10GB or larger buckets of data. For example, AT&T said a family or small business with four smartphones could move to this new plan and save between $40 and $100 per month, depending on the current plan.
We caught up with Jeff Kagan, an independent analyst, to get his take on the new pricing structure. He told us he senses that extending the idea of low prices for families and small businesses is the new direction for the wireless industry -- and AT&T is taking it to new levels. He’s betting customers will love this.
“Competitors will look closely and decide their next steps. I can see this idea spreading eventually. The wireless world has been all about innovation over the last five years, but it looks like it’s also going to be about new plans and saving money going forward. The wireless world goes through these industry reshaping changes every five to seven years. It’s just time for the next wave of change,” Kagan said.
“This seems like a win-win for everyone. It helps both families or small businesses save money, and it helps AT&T protect and grow their customer base. It is getting very interesting to see how AT&T is radically changing how wireless is priced and how we pay for it," he added. "The price has never been more reasonable, and I get the sense that we are still just in the very early innings of this new game. So far it looks like AT&T and T-Mobile have started down this path. I expect to see others join them as well.”