AT&T is catering to cost-sensitive consumers with two new lower-cost tiers of service for its Mobile Share plans and a less expensive smartphone for its prepaid service.
Starting July 26, AT&T will add two new tiers to its Mobile Share portfolio and begin offering the Nokia Lumia 520 to its prepaid GoPhone customers for $99.99.
Mobile Share customers who don't need to share as much data now will be able to subscribe to a $20 a month 300MB plan or a $50 a month 2GB plan.
Previously, AT&T's least expensive and lowest amount of data offering was its 1GB plan, which costs $40 per month. Moreover, customers who needed more than the 1GB of data were forced to upgrade to a 4GB plan, which is priced at $70 per month.
AT&T said that adding the 300MB and 2GB plans to the existing 1GB and 4GB tiers will provide more choice for customers.
"Our customers are living mobile lives, and our new Mobile Share plans give them even more options to design a plan that meets their unique needs," Mark Collins, senior vice president voice and data products for AT&T Mobility, said in a statement.
AT&T introduced its Mobile Share plans a year ago. The plans include unlimited voice and text messaging. The plans are differentiated based on how much data they offer. Subscribers are able to share the "bucket" of data with other family members on the same plan or with other Internet-enabled devices, such as tablets, Mi-Fis, or cameras.
"We've seen an amazing response from customers since we first launched AT&T Mobile Share plans about one year ago, and that's why we're expanding our Mobile Share choices to fit more customers," Collins added. "As of the first quarter of this year, more than 10 million connections have discovered the benefits of sharing data and unlimited talk and text."
Under these plans, subscribers also are charged for every device that is connected to the share plan. For example, with the new 300MB data tier, it will cost $50 a month to connect a smartphone, making the plan a total of $70 a month. Customers who sign up for the 1 GB or 2GB plan pay $45 on top of their Mobile Share plan for every smartphone on the plan. The price for each smartphone decreases as the amount of data increases.
Nokia Lumia 520 comes to AT&T for $99.99
The new tiers for the Mobile Share plan aren't the only thing AT&T is doing to lure in frugal consumers. The company also announced Monday that starting July 26 it will offer the low-cost Nokia Lumia 520 for its prepaid GoPhone service. This device, which uses the Microsoft Windows Phone 8 operating system, is one of the best bargains in the smartphone market. It's essentially the same Lumia device that T-Mobile has been selling since the spring. On T-Mobile the phone has been selling out on an almost weekly basis.
The Nokia Lumia 520 for AT&T GoPhone is available for $99.99. It's a lower-end smartphone, for sure, but it still packs some decent functionality, including a 5MP camera with added software functions, such as Cinemagraph, which adds motion to your pictures. You also can take super-wide-angled pictures or use the camera's Smart Shoot feature, which allows you to capture five sequential images and select different faces and portions of the photos to compile into one final group picture.
The phone also comes loaded with several useful Nokia apps, such as Nokia's mapping and navigation apps and music service. The device works with Windows Phone apps as well.
AT&T claims that the Lumia 520 is a 4G device, but don't be fooled. The phone does not support 4G LTE, the fastest flavor of 4G service. Instead it offers HSPA+ connectivity, which AT&T and T-Mobile call 4G service. Also, this device is available to AT&T's prepaid service only. Customers who want to use it with one of the Mobile Share plans won't be able to buy the phone for that purpose. They'll have to sign up for the GoPhone prepaid service.
Still, this is a great little phone for the price and it has garnered high marks from CNET's Reviews editors when compared to similarly priced phones.
Digital Life expansion
AT&T also announced that on July 26 it will expand its Digital Life home monitoring and automation service to more markets, including Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, San Diego, San Jose, and Tampa.
The Digital Life service, currently offered in 33 markets, offers security monitoring that can be accessed from Internet-connected smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Specifically, it allows customers to remotely control cameras, door locks, lights, thermostats, small appliances, and more.
In addition to expanding into these six cities, AT&T says it plans to introduce Digital Life in up to 50 markets by the end of 2013.