(Reuters) – AT&T Inc customers will be able to upgrade phones once a year instead of waiting two years under a new option that involves monthly device payments as AT&T defends itself against challenges from T-Mobile US.
AT&T’s latest offering, which will not require upfront device fees, comes as the No. 2 U.S. mobile provider strives to regain the market share it has been losing to market leader Verizon Wireless, and to fight back against tougher competition from smaller rivals like fourth-ranked T-Mobile US.
Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, is also expected to launch a similar offer in August, according to a Droid Life blog report. Verizon Wireless declined to comment.
Shares in T-Mobile US fell 3.8 percent and shares in No. 3 U.S. mobile provider Sprint Corp fell 3.6 percent after the news on Tuesday.