Shopping for a new smartphone service plan can be one of the least pleasant activities you’ll have to put up with. The more and more you look around, and the more options you consider, the clearer it becomes that no matter what you do, you’re still going to get screwed a little bit. One big reason for that has to do with smartphone subsidies, and the problem carriers created by building the cost of those subsidies into their most popular service plans. Sure, we’ve seen carriers like T-Mobile try to re-imagine a more fair way for this to work, but that’s been the exception. The tide may be turning, though, as we get word today that AT&T intends to introduce some new no-subsidy savings of its own.
Starting December 8, AT&T is making a number of changes to its plan offerings. Those include lowering the base rates for many Mobile Share Value tiers, and delivering a new spin on its Next early-upgrade plan, but we’re most interested in the new “No Annual Service Contract” option.
Basically, if you have a phone that’s no longer being subsidized, either because your initial contract has been fulfilled or you brought your own device, you can get a $15 monthly savings over a regular subsidized plan.
This isn’t just going to happen by itself – if you’re already off-subsidy, you’ll need to contact AT&T after the eighth to have the carrier switch you over.
A nice side effect of this news is that we get a solid assessment for just what a subsidy’s worth to AT&T: $360.