AT&T has veered from its long time conservative promotional activity, relative to its peers. With so many M&A and then integration irons in the fire, the gross add wireless business seemed to take a back seat. However with the Apple iPhone 12 launch, AT&T has made its most aggressive move to date. That is an iPhone 12 can be obtained for free, a $800 value. Of course the conditional unlimited plan, minimum trade-in and 30 month installments apply. Moreover, the $800 can be applied against the 12 Pro and likely the 12 Pro Max model. To be sure, in a switcher world, the best promotions are reserved for those who jump carriers, or existing users adding a new line.
What's different this year is that this promotion is opened to existing subscribers without a new line condition. Though this seemed to be widely noted with the iPhone 12 launch, a similar flagship device promotion happened in September with the Samsung Note 20 5G where a subscriber may get that device for free with similar conditions. Still, it wasn't an iPhone.
Why It Matters
On its 3Q20 earnings call, AT&T CEO Stankey noted that the iPhone promotion is a means to reward the longtime iPhone customer base. It's clear that Apple jumping on the 5G bandwagon was a key factor in the promotion calculation. If all goes well, Stankey stated with HBO Max adoption, new mobile unlimited plans coupled with a 5G handset cycle would be a key wireless service revenue driver for the backhalf of 2020. My own retail and customer care checks suggest this iPhone promotion is incredibly popular with desired color variants backlogged until December.