Everyone has a cell phone and nearly everyone with a cell phone has a smartphone
That means that marketing for the cell carriers has gotten much more intense. No longer are they focused on getting new customers and showing the world how important it is to have a cell phone. Instead, to increase profit margins, they need to create incentives to keep their current customers and steal customers from their competitors. They are, apparently, all following the same approach to do so.
No-cost cell phones make the difference
Though T-Mobile was the first to do so, it seems that all the cell carriers have finally realized it might be good to have the cost of the cell phone integrated with the cost of the plan instead of paying for the phone upfront. Everybody has their own priorities when it comes to smartphones and what they want in a plan, but many of those people are simply looking for the cheapest plan possible. For cell carriers, that means they need to offer inexpensive ways to move plans.
People who don’t have a phone can get the cost of the phone integrated into the monthly plan fee, which means no upfront costs for those who don’t have a lot saved up. And those who already have a phone will just get a discount on their plan every month. It is the best way to steal the budget-minded people from competitors. Or it would be if not everyone did it.
What other priorities are there?
More than likely, cell carriers will quickly realize that they need to add other incentives for other kinds of priorities. For example, some people just want their phones to work all the time. That means a good network is the most important thing regardless of the cost. Some people just use a ton of data and want to be able to access the internet anywhere. Those people will look for unlimited data plans regardless of the cost. There are some people with teenagers that text and talk on the phone way more than they should, and the priority for those families would be unlimited text and talk plans.
Some people don’t want a contract because they like the flexibility of being able to change companies whenever they want. Those people will pick a plan with month-to-month contracts that are pretty cheap. If a cell carrier really wanted to be successful, they would offer all of these things to bring in all the different kinds of customers, though it may not be the most realistic possibility.
The cell carrier industry is always changing to create better plans that fit the needs of their customers. And the needs of customers are always changing too. Right now, it seems that need it just to get more bang for your buck, or at least that is what the cell carriers are currently focusing on.