While it’s not uncommon to see new phones get price drops, especially through third party retailers like Amazon.com whose business is to undercut the carriers, it is a bit unusual to see a carrier lower the price too quickly. Such is the case with the HTC 8XT (review) and the Samsung ATIV S Neo.
The HTC 8XT, which was released on July 19th, initially sold for $99 on a two-year contract. Starting this past weekend, the price has dropped to free, though you still need to send in the $50 mail-in rebate. Likewise, the Samsung ATIV S Neo, which has only been available for 10 days (with a limited rollout), has also had a $100 haircut going from $149.99 to a more reasonable $49.99 (also after a mail-in rebate).
Carriers lowering prices to move inventory is a common practice, indeed the AT&T Lumia 920 has recently been lowered to $49.99 from its initial $99 offering. The difference there is the Lumia 920 has been available for nine months whereas the ATIV S Neo has had its price cut after just ten days. Such an early reduction in price could leave a few customers sore if they had bought it on day one (Sprint will credit you if you're within the 14 day purchase period, but you have to contact them first).
It’s not clear if this is a temporary sale, meaning potential customers should act now, or if this is a permanent reduction in an attempt to make Sprint’s new Windows Phone’s more attractive to the public.
Sprint, who offers low-cost and affordable plans when compared to Verizon or AT&T, may have had these prices set to high for their new phones. By comparison, T-Mobile launched the Nokia Lumia 925 for $49.99. Offering the ATIV S Neo at that same price range seem more appropriate to keeping customers from switching.