Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) is offering 1 GB of extra data per month to customers who activate a tablet on the carrier's new "More Everything" shared data plans. The offer comes as Verizon and its competitors turn to tablets to spur sales of data services.
Verizon said its offer of the extra 1 GB of data will remain available to customers as long as the tablet is active on More Everything plans at or above 1 GB. It costs $10 per month to keep a tablet on the carrier's More Everything plan. The offer was introduced last week and Verizon has not set an end date for it.
"We're always looking at the market and our customers and creating compelling offers we think they will appreciate," Verizon spokeswoman Debi Lewis told FierceWireless. "In this case, more and more people are using tablets (of all shapes and sizes) and adding 1 GB of shareable data to the plan helps them get even more value and enjoyment from that device (and others…)."
In the fourth quarter, Sprint's (NYSE:S) tablet activations helped it stay afloat in terms of subscriber additions. The company added 58,000 postpaid subscribers, 322,000 prepaid subscribers and 302,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers in the fourth quarter to its Sprint platform. However, Sprint platform activations included 466,000 tablets. Sprint said its introduction of installment pricing for tablets last fall and its holiday promotions helped juice its tablet numbers.
Similarly, AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) reported a net increase in total wireless subscribers of 809,000 in the fourth quarter, including postpaid net adds of 566,000. Importantly, AT&T's total branded tablet net adds were 440,000.
Meantime, Verizon added 1.7 million retail net connections in the fourth quarter, including 1.6 million net retail postpaid connections; Verizon said tablet net adds made up 625,000 of company's retail postpaid connections in the quarter. Verizon's new tablet promotion is likely geared to juice its tablet net adds.
Interestingly, T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) did not rely on tablets for its growth in the fourth quarter: The company notched 1.6 million net new subscribers but said that it had just 69,000 mobile broadband branded postpaid net additions, principally composed of tablets. Late last year, shortly before the end of the fourth quarter, T-Mobile announced it would offer 200 MB per month of free data to tablet customers as long as they keep their tablet on the carrier's network.
Looking ahead to the first-quarter earnings season, analysts at New Street Research expect carriers to report stronger-than-expected quarterly subscriber additions, thanks in large part to booming tablet activations.
- see this Verizon page
Analysts: Carriers will be aided in Q1 thanks to tablet subscribers
NPD: U.S. Tablets using cellular connections increase 46% in 2013 to 10.4M
T-Mobile notches 1.6M new subs in Q4, will shutter 3 MetroPCS CDMA markets this year
Confirmed: T-Mobile to let 'Jump' customers upgrade more often, add tablets to program
Sprint CFO: Installment pricing, promotions helped juice Q4 tablet numbers