Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Announcing The Information Courses: Sign up for our Micromobility 101 course, a 15-day guided primer on dockless e-scooters, bikes, and more.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here


New Wireless Plans Raise Questions for Carriers and Phone Makers

For years, U.S. cellular carriers have helped drive enormous demand for smartphones by heavily subsidizing retail prices of what would otherwise be costly devices. So what could happen to smartphone sales now that carriers are moving away from that approach?

New plans introduced over the past year or so by most of the major carriers change the longstanding wireless pricing model in the U.S. by separating out the cost of devices from the wireless service costs.

Consumers signing up for these plans from AT&T and Verizon Wireless and others can pay less for service if they sign up already owning a phone or if they agree to pay the full cost of a new phone—$600 or so—over time through installment payments.

AT&T and Verizon introduced these plans in response to even more aggressive changes by the fourth biggest operator, T-Mobile USA, which has been trying to grab market share by simplifying its plans and cutting prices. While T-Mobile’s customer growth has sharply improved, investors have been worried about the impact of the new plans on industry revenues, and telecom stocks have been weak over the past year.

What Is The Information?

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Get access to our reporters and other top executives with monthly deep-dive calls into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles


Viacom Looks to Buy Ad-Supported Streaming Service

By Jessica Toonkel and Tom Dotan


How Time Warner Shareholders Lost M&A’s Game of Thrones

By Martin Peers

Google Telecom

Google in Middle of Fight Over 5G Spectrum

By Christopher Stern


Skinny Bundles Hit Their Weight Limit

By Tom Dotan and Martin Peers

Used smartphones could cannibalize 8 percent of total new smartphone sales by 2018, according to Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi.