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AT&T said to discontinue tablet subsidies

updated 11:33 pm EDT, Sun August 19, 2012

Will still offer tablets at full price

As of August 19, AT&T will reportedly no longer subsidize the cost of tablet devices for customers. The news emerged today when an unnamed source passed an internal document to Engadget revealing the carrier's new policy. The company will still carry tablets, but customers will only be able to purchase them at their full cost, and they will still be eligible for AT&T's shared data plans.

The policy shift eliminates all two-year tablet data pricing plans that were available with the subsidized purchase of a device. Customers who purchased a subsidized tablet will still be able to add it to a Mobile Share account for $10, but AT&T will still require them to fulfill their contract obligations. Customers that want to leave Mobile Share and return to a DataConnect 3GB/$35 or 5GB/$50 plan for a subsidized tablet will have to pay an early termination fee if they have not yet met their contract obligations.

Customers will still be able to take advantage of any promotions that were previously offered alongside a subsidized tablet, but they will have to do so while paying the full price for the device. A look at the carrier's tablet product page shows that it is indeed still offering a range of devices, though all of them only have the "No service commitment" pricing option available.

by MacNN Staff





  1. jscotta

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-30-02

    By "tablets" I'm guessing that you are talking about anything that is non-Apple. I say that because I do no think that AT&T has ever subsidized the iPad. And yet it is still the best selling tablet by far.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-21-10

    @ jscotta - Agree. Android is doing well in the smartphone market in part because the cell carriers are hyping Android-based phones. (Or should I say Samsung is doing well and that the cell carriers are hyping Samsung smartphones?)

    But because iPad and iPad clones don't make phone calls, the cell carriers don't care about them. They never subsidized iPad because there is no good way to bundle a big-minute voice plan with an iPad purchase. They only subsidized a handful of iPad clones, and only because the manufacturers couldn't beat iPad's price without the subsidies. Evidently that wasn't a good deal for the carriers. (And how could it have been?)

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 11-28-08

    :err: ... but Android is still winning... I'm sure I've heard that quite recently. :lol:

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