AT&T Throws in IPads With IPhones to Boost Tablet Customers

Aug 13, 2014 4:13 pm ET

(Updates with closing stock prices in last paragraph.)

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc. is dangling $200 discounts on iPads as part of an iPhone sales promotion aimed at clearing inventory ahead of the next iPhone and at boosting the number of data-device subscribers.

With the introduction of Apple Inc.’s new iPhone expected next month, AT&T, the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier, started the limited-time offer in stores today for customers buying the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. If users opt to pay full price for new iPhones through an installment plan, they can get a $200 discount on an iPad with a two-year service contract.

Discounts on late-model iPhones are common in the weeks ahead of a new device debut. In a twist this year, Dallas-based AT&T has shifted the discount to iPads, a move that helps boost contract customers now that a majority of Americans already have a smartphone. About a third of AT&T’s new monthly subscriptions last quarter were for tablets.

The discount could also stimulate tablet shipments at a time when Cupertino, California-based Apple has seen a slowdown, with iPad sales dropping 9 percent last quarter from a year earlier.

AT&T is also selling the non-retina display iPad Mini for $199.99 with a two-year contract and the purchase of an iPhone 5s or 5c. The iPad Mini with an AT&T cellular connection is listed at $429 at Apple.

AT&T shares rose less than 1 percent to close at $34.69 in New York. Apple was up 1.3 percent to $97.24.