AT&T drops subsidized tablet pricing starting today

By on August 20, 2012, 3:00 PM

AT&T is reportedly doing away with subsidized tablet pricing meaning you’ll have to pay full price if you purchase a slate through the wireless carrier. The decision comes a month or so after Verizon essentially did the same thing with their line of tablets and netbooks.

The Verge confirmed the news with two AT&T store reps and it is believed that the decision was driven by AT&T’s Mobile Share plans which lets customers add tablets to their shared data plan for $10 more each month. Subsidized tablets were never really seen as a good deal simply because users had to agree to a lengthy mobile data contract where rates are still rather expensive.

If you aren’t planning to use your tablet on a shared data plan, you’ll be saving around $5 each month on a tablet data plan since there won’t be a subsidy to cope with. As such, new data pricing is as follows: 250MB for $14.99, 3GB for $30 and 5GB for $50.

Of course, this news likely won’t have a huge impact at this point seeing as AT&T only offers a limited selection of tablets. Aside from the iPad which was never available under subsidy pricing, the only tablets currently on sale are the Pantech Element, the HTC Jetstream and a refurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9. These slates are now priced at $399.99, $549.99 and $349.99, respectively.

The no-contract pricing reportedly goes into effect starting today and is already reflected on AT&T’s website.

User Comments: 2

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Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This really isn't much of a surprise, particularly when you consider how low tablet options are beginning to drop in price (and will even more so when things like the Surface products and new cell-enabled Kindle Fires hit the market). It's becoming affordable for customers to just buy their own selected hardware outright, then shop for the right data plan to fit their needs.

Could end up being good news for US consumers. In other parts of the world, you pay big bucks for your phone, then shop around for the best service. Forces the service providers to give a good value with good support. We've been trapped with the "low cost up front (or free) hardware, and then being stuck for 2 years" marketing tactics for too long. This might be a step in the right direction.

p51d007 said:

I'm for getting rid of the contract/cheap phone. Let me bring the phone, as long as it is compatible with your network. Let ME have control over MY phone. Including updates, software installed etc. Yes, the phones at the start will be expensive, but, with competition, the price will come down. With the buying power of big box stores, it will come down. Also, the competition between carriers "should" have a benefit of lowering costs to consumers. That is (at least in the USA) the two main carriers, Verizon & AT&T do a wink & nod to keep the prices up.

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