AT&T’s Mobile Share Value plans provide the line discount under any circumstance where a 2-year contract is not involved, customers can bring their own device, buy one on AT&T Next, or pay full retail. AT&T, while still reacting to the market changes initiated by T-Mobile, is taking a more pro-active position with its services. In just two months, America's second largest carrier made changes to its rates to become more competitive with T-Mobile, leaving Verizon and Sprint in the dust at the time.
Sprint stands alone in that it no longer offers a device installment program, opting only for 2-year service agreements. While Verizon and AT&T also offer two-year service options, Sprint has historically had more aggressive subsidized pricing. Premium devices can be found on the Sprint’s web-site at significant discounts versus other carriers. Still, the rate plans are outside the norm versus the competitive trend. We are waiting for Sprint to join the party.
T-Mobile, the company that started this whole wireless revolution in the United States, remains the price leader. When it comes to service plans, Team Magenta, headed up by Cheerleader-in-Chief John Legere, is still in the spotlight. Its JUMP! Upgrade program is what started the wave of device installment payment programs. The only difference with JUMP! is that T-Mobile requires mobile insurance and protection plans, which puts a $10 per month premium.
Verizon’s new rate structure keeps it in the price game. Despite the similarities that are emerging from the carriers, the differences that do exist, though nuanced, are significant and it is worth looking at those differences to see which carrier has more of what you want. As deferred payment plans for ever-more-expensive equipment become the norm, we can expect to continue to see price plans become more and more attractive.