Here in the US, we have an established pricing system on newly released Android phones that generally denotes the level of hardware you can expect. For quite some time now, a handset that costs $ 199 with a two-year contract is a top end phone. Anything below that generally features last-gen internals, a downgraded display or something similar. Anything above $ 199 has all the bells and whistles. When a phone is released that doesn’t fit this model, it makes the news. Whether it’s a device that’s worth $ 99 that’s sold for $ 299, or a device that’s worth $ 299 going for $ 149, it’s enough to make just about anyone look twice. Today, we get to talk about the latter of those two scenarios.

Over this weekend, BGR discovered that some of AT&T’s latest high-end devices are available for much lower than anticipated in some markets. When using a New York zip code on AT&T’s website, the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and HTC Vivid pop up for $ 149 and $ 99 respectively. For a dual-core smartphone compatible with AT&T’s 4G LTE network, that is incredibly cheap. Compared to similar devices on other carriers, you’ll be saving anywhere from $ 99 to $ 199. The only problem is that those prices aren’t for everyone.

The severe discounts on AT&T’s lead LTE devices are only available in certain markets. Presumably, where Ma Bell is looking to push LTE the hardest. This is a great strategy for selling as many LTE devices as possible, but what about anyone living outside of an LTE market? When using my home town’s zip code on AT&T’s website, I still see the full price of both handsets. So if you’re lucky enough to live in an LTE area, the Skyrocket and Vivd should be on the top of your list if you’re looking for a new Android device.

What do you think about AT&T discounting handsets to push LTE? Is it not fair to other customers, or is it a genius plan?

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