In the coming months, AT&T will spend as much as $150 million to help promote Nokia’s latest flagship smartphone, the Lumia 900. According to Ad Age, the massive advertising budget is even greater than what the carrier spent promoting Apple’s iPhone, which continues to be the company’s top selling device. Since losing its exclusive partnership with Apple, AT&T has been adding smartphone subscribers at a slower rate than rival Verizon Wireless. With other revenue streams drying up, carriers are looking to add new smartphone users to propel growth from profitable data plans. “The bulk of the growth for carriers is coming from smartphone subscribers,” said Chris Larsen, telecom analyst for Piper Jaffray. “They generate higher monthly recurring fees and more revenue.” With Verizon nipping at the heels of AT&T’s smartphone users base — thanks to numerous high-end exclusives —the carrier needs to push its own exclusive smartphones to counter Verizon’s growth. “You can tell when you walk into a Verizon store they’ve made a lot of money selling Android—that’s what they’re promoting,” Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps told Ad Age.
UPDATE: BGR has confirmed with a trusted source that AT&T’s marketing plans for the Nokia Lumia 900 are not in line with this report.