Just over a month after what appears to be a disturbing trend in the US wireless industry with significant price increases for certain customers on “older” plans and shortly after receiving more criticism by dumping a very popular freebie for new subscribers, AT&T managed to get some positive attention… for about 10 minutes earlier today.
Unfortunately, the country’s third-largest mobile network operator is already back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, hinting at a second round of price hikes that may happen soon if inflation continues to grow.
As explained by AT&T Chief Financial Officer Pascal Desroches (via Bloomberg), the carrier is facing rapidly rising costs in everything from labor to supplies, energy and transportation, and if that trend continues (which many analysts expect will), at some point another “look at the pricing” needed to “help offset” all those higher costs.
While that may sound vague and generic enough not to worry you too much, it’s well worth highlighting that last month’s price hike preceded by a similar statement less than a month earlier.
For those of you keeping score at home, Verizon currently leads AT&T 2 to 1 in recent price increases, and with Big Red’s second such move essentially parallels Ma Bell’s, it’s only logical to expect things to go in the opposite direction after this.
After adding $6 and $12 per month to (some) single and family lines respectively, a smaller price increase for everyone on AT&T could appear disguised as some sort of fee, or as Verizon likes to call it, an “economic adjustment fee.”
That is of course no more than a conjecture on our part, and with… As always, AT&T is focused on increasing its unlimited subscriber base, a second price increase aimed solely at customers loyal to “older” subscriptions with data caps cannot be ruled out.
It remains to be seen whether T-Mobile can continue to do this resist the temptation to follow the lead of the competition and increase its profit margins endured the out-of-control inflation for much longer.