Ad-supported mobile plans could be coming to AT&T in 2021


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  • AT&T may offer users ad-supported mobile phone plans.
  • These plans would reduce the cost of phone bills in exchange for targeted advertising on devices.
  • The firm is considering launching such plans as early as 2021.

AT&T may introduce wireless plans subsidized by advertising as early as next year according to a report by Reuters.

Per the report, the company is considering a more serious push into the advertising game to bolster its revenue. At the same time, it believes this development will also offer users some respite on their monthly phone bill.

AT&T CEO John Stankey told Reuters that he believes consumers “would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction” to their monthly premium. Stankey also stated the firm’s ad-supported offerings could be launched within “a year or two.”

Key to AT&T’s plans is its development of a targeted advertising system that would allow it to identify individual customers and show each one specific and relevant ads.

More ads, lower bills: Yay or nay?

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Notably, this proposed move isn’t a new concept. In 2016, Boost Mobile gave users an option to download a deals app for a $5 rebate on their monthly bill. It didn’t catch on.

The likes of Xiaomi have employed ads on its devices which keeps the cost of its devices low while improving its bottom line. Amazon does something similar with its cheaper Kindle, which displays unobtrusive lock screen ads for a slight knock off its base price. The online retailer also offered similarly equipped phones on its website in partnership with several brands.

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There is a fine line between annoying customers and pleasing advertisers though. It’s not clear how the firm will integrate and monitor the plans (especially on existing devices). If we were to posit a guess, it may ask users to install an app to take advantage of these plans, or consumers’ devices may need to use specific APN settings.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how and if AT&T can right the wrongs of earlier ad-supported mobile plans.

Are AT&T’s ad-supported offerings something that would appeal to you? Would you drink up ads if it meant lower mobile premiums? Let us know in the poll above.

Related: The best AT&T deals available right now

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