ATandT Cuts BlackBerry Torch Price, Launches Three Windows Phone 7 Phones

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AT&T cut the price of BlackBerry Torch to $100, from $200, with a two-year contract as it gets ready to launch three new Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

(Reuters) - AT&T has slashed the price of Research In Motion's BlackBerry Torch smartphone as it ushers in three devices running on Microsoft's Phone 7 operating system ahead of the holiday buying season.

The Torch, a touchscreen phone with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, launched exclusively on AT&T from August 12 for $199.99 with a two-year contract, about the same price as Apple's iPhone.

AT&T, the second largest U.S. network, slashed that price to $99.99 on November 7.

"It's a promotion for the holiday season," AT&T spokeswoman Kate Tellier said. "It's usual to do this around the holidays," she added.

Indirect retailers such as Amazon.com sell the phone for as little as 1 cent. Best Buy sells the phone for $149.99 on a two-year contract and Firefly.com offers it for $29.99.

Carriers typically pay indirect channels a fee for selling phones with their network contract attached, Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt said in an August note to clients.

That fee enables the channels to undercut the carrier on the price of the device and carriers generally follow suit three to six months later, McCourt said.

AT&T on Monday launched two phones running Windows software, the Samsung Focus and the HTC Surround, both for $199.99 on two-year contract. It also expects to launch a third, the LG Quantum.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp)