AT&T is now offering tablet owners the option of a postpaid billing plan. Like the prepaid plan, it doesn't require a long-term contract and is added onto a customer's existing monthly statement.
Beginning March 3, customers can sign up for the postpaid billing option and pay $14.99 for 250MB a month or $25 for 2GB of data. Customers on the 2GB plan who exceed their allotment will be charged $10 per 1GB of data. On the prepaid plan, customers pay $14.99 for 250MB or $25 for 2GB, but-and there's an interesting detail here-those on the latter plan can choose to purchase an additional 2GB of data for $25.
For a limited time, customers who sign up for the postpaid $25 for 2GB plan will receive their first month free, according to AT&T. The postpaid option will be available at AT&T retail stores and online, as well as at Best Buy, Fry's and some Wal-Mart stores.
"Tablets offer the convenience of mobile broadband virtually anywhere, and our new billing options give customers the flexibility to choose how they prefer to be billed," David Christopher, AT&T's chief marketing officer of AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets, said in a statement.
Soon, AT&T customers-along with Verizon Wireless subscribers-will also have the choice of another tablet, the newly introduced Apple iPad 2, scheduled to go on sale March 11.
ABI Research described the iPad 2 as including "a lot of 2s." This includes "a dual-core processor, two video cameras, dual UMTS/CDMA [Universal Mobile Telecommunications System/Code Division Multiple Access] 3G protocol support and two enclosure colors."
Priced identically to the original iPad, this next generation will likely phase out its predecessor, added ABI, which expects more than 40 million tablets to ship during 2011.
Morgan Stanley, in a Feb. 14 report, said the tablet market is likely to be larger than others are predicting, reaching toward 100 million units in 2012, led by demand from China.
During a quarterly earnings conference call with media and analysts Jan. 27-AT&T announced fourth-quarter earnings of $1.1 billion on revenues of $124.3 billion-AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the carrier had a number of tablets in the works, and that the tablet market is just getting started.
"We think [the tablet market] has a ways to run," said Stephenson. "You're going to see a lot of Android tablets come online, so we think we have a lot of opportunity in tablets."
He added that AT&T also plans to add 20 4G devices to its lineup in 2010.
On March 3, AT&T also offered news of its U-verse TV service, which it said has attracted more subscribers than any other major TV provider in the country. In 2010, according to AT&T, U-verse added 28 percent more customers than its nearest competitor, gaining nearly a million subscribers while major cable providers, combined, lost more than a million subscribers.