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Tablet subsidies are going the way of the dinosaur on AT&T.
AT&T has begun selling its tablets solely at full price, ending the practice of enticing contract subscribers by selling the devices at a marginally lower upfront cost. With this move AT&T joins competitor Verizon, which announced a similar shift in July.
Tablet subsidies never made much sense for a few reasons. For one, consumers have been largely uninterested in signing up for expensive two-year contracts for devices likely to become obsolete months after they buy them. Consumers who already own on-contract smartphones are even less likely to buy an on-contract tablet. The expense is just too high, and for most consumers, tablets that work via Wi-Fi are a much better option.
So instead of offering contracted tablets, AT&T aims to get consumers to add the tablets to their existing data packages. This is the idea behind the company’s Mobile Share plans, which will allow up to 10 devices to share a collective bucket of data. The move makes a lot more sense than the on-contract tablet route and may just get more subscribers interested in picking up tablets with AT&T.
Even so, we suspect that not even a more convenient data plan will get people interested in paying $399 for the Pantech Element.