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4G/3G/WiFi

AT&T Eyes 500K More Customers in Q2

AT&T is planning to add half a million subscribers to its network in the second quarter as it forges ahead on LTE and nudges prepaid customers onto higher-tier data plans.

The carrier will report its full second-quarter earnings on July 23, but reaffirmed its full-year guidance Thursday evening, noting that U-Verse broadband and TV subscriber additions have also been strong in the present quarter.

On the wireless front, AT&T said that successful second-quarter promotions are driving strong sales, higher gross adds and smartphone upgrade rates similar to the first quarter. It is expecting its second-quarter wireless earnings to match those in the first quarter, but for overall margins to decline year-on-year owing to "investments in new growth opportunities."

AT&T is ahead of its LTE rollout schedule, having added 22 new LTE towns and cities and expanded 10 existing markets this week. It says it is on track to cover 250 markets by the end of the summer. (See Ring Ma Bell: AT&T Continues 4G Summer.)

At the same time, the carrier plans to continue tweaking its prepaid plans in hopes of moving its contract-free customer to higher-end data options. AT&T confirmed to CNet that it will eliminate a few of its low-cost GoPhone data plans options on June 20, replacing them with "a variety of new plans" in the coming weeks.

GoPhone offered customers a $25 tier for unlimited text messages and 250 minutes of voice calls plus a $5 add-on for 50MB of data, $15 for 200MB or $25 for 1GB, but now only the smallest data plan remains. The brand's highest-tier plan, a $65 plan for unlimited voice calls, text messages and 1GB of data, is also still available. As CNet notes, this is the plan even infrequent data users will likely have to choose, given how paltry 50MB is for most.

GoPhone isn't AT&T's only prepaid option. The carrier also launched Aio Wireless in select markets last month, with plans ranging from $40 for 250MB of high-speed data, throttled at the cap, to $70 for 7GB. (See Hello Aio! AT&T Joins Prepaid MVNO Crowd.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Sarah Thomas 6/10/2013 | 3:06:44 PM
re: AT&T Eyes 500K More Customers in Q2 Looks like AT&T will try to help its margins by changing its handset upgrade cycle to two years (up from 20 months): http://blogs.att.net/consumerb.... Verizon announced a similar move in April.
Sarah Thomas 6/7/2013 | 5:43:38 PM
re: AT&T Eyes 500K More Customers in Q2 In comparison, AT&T added only 296,000 postpaid subs in Q1 and Verizon added 677,000, so 500,000 is pretty good news for the operator. I will be curious to see what new prepaid plans it introduces too. My hope is there really is more variety and options, not just higher-tier data only because that's apparently what most customers want.
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