Recent setbacks aren't stopping AT&T from feeling festive. On Nov. 25, the carrier announced plans to "serve as Santa's sleigh," with several deals to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Beginning a minute past midnight on Black Friday morning, AT&T put several touch-screen devices on sale, and come the same time Saturday morning, for 24 hours only, the Research In Motion BlackBerry Pearl and BlackBerry Curve 8310 smartphones will be available for free, with a two-year service agreement and a minimum $69.99-per-month service plan. The BlackBerry Curve 8320 will be priced at $49, and the Curve 8900 at $99-also with the above-mentioned contract and service plan.
Beginning Sunday morning, two-year service agreements for the Samsung Solstice, LG Neon, Samsung Magnet, Motorola Karma and Samsung Propel will come with unlimited messaging, and spilling the deals into Monday, AT&T is offering, if sporadically, the Nokia e71x, Sony Cybershot, BlackBerry Curve 8900, Pantech Reveal and Samsung Jack for just a penny apiece with a two-year service agreement-but you'll have to order at the right time. The device offers rotate every 3 hours.
"We want to give all of our customers the gift of value," Phil Bienert, a vice president with AT&T, said in a statement. "We offer a better 3G experience for our wireless customers and award-winning TV service with AT&T U-verse. We're bringing everything together this weekend. There really is no comparison; we want this to be the most wonderful time of the year to be an AT&T customer."
Despite AT&T's belief that there is "no comparison," holiday-themed ads from Verizon Wireless that compare the carriers' 3G networks have left AT&T feeling less than festive. On Nov. 12, AT&T tried to get a judge to force Verizon to stop airing the commercials-one of which showed the iPhone, which AT&T is the exclusive provider of in the United States, arriving on the Island of Misfit Toys-but its request was denied.
On Nov. 19, AT&T additionally built out its holiday lineup with the addition of the HP Mini 110 netbook, which includes 3G connectivity and the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. The netbook is priced at $199, after a rebate and with a two-year service agreement.
T-Mobile and HTC are also offering Black Friday deals, with T-Mobile knocking $50 off the price of the Motorola Cliq, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and the Samsung Highlight, and HTC offering $100 to consumers who trade in a smartphone for one of four of its new handsets.
In addition to serving as Santa's sleigh, AT&T wants to put customers in touch with the big man himself. Between now and Dec. 24, AT&T customers can text SANTA to 1224, free of charge, and receive an invitation from St. Nick to text back their holiday wish lists. AT&T U-verse TV customers can also follow Santa's sleigh route, play holiday songs and more, with a Santa Tracker app.
"If you think Santa and the elves are fast at making toys, you should see them texting!" said Susan Bean, a North Pole representative for Santa. AT&T shared this news in a statement.