For almost a decade and a half, mobile customers – and Americans in particular – have enjoyed a certain economic perk: phone subsidies from the major carriers. This meant you could, on sign-up, get a very expensive phone for at most a few hundred dollars and, as an incentive to hang around, upgrade that phone every few years. These subsidies seemed as God-given as freedom of speech and apple pie, but they may be on their way out.
I don’t want to stir up fake outrage at this move (and it’s not even a move, just a comment by the AT&T CEO at some conference, but in the Kremlinology of online babbling that’s as good as a contract) but it smacks of perfidy. Said Randall Stephenson:
When you’re growing the business initially, you have to do aggressive device subsidies to get people on the network. But as you approach 90…
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