“AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson told investors yesterday that with smartphone penetration approaching 90 percent, the existing business model – where carriers sell highly-subsidized smartphones to drive demand – will have to change,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac.

“‘When you’re growing the business initially, you have to do aggressive device subsidies to get people on the network. But as you approach 90 percent penetration, you move into maintenance mode. That means more device upgrades. And the model has to change. You can’t afford to subsidize devices like that,’ [Stephenson said].” Lovejoy reports. “In the UK, where subsidies are much more visible, all carriers offer the option to pay full price for the phone in order to get much cheaper monthly service fees. As an example, I bought my iPhone outright at full retail, and as a result pay just £15 ($24) a month for unlimited voice calls, texts and data. Upgrading every other cycle means I typically save $3-400 over the course of two years.”

Read more in the full article here.