Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 10:04 am.

Kindle 3G with ads now another $25 cheaper thanks to AT&T “sponsorship”

Amazon’s Kindle 3G with special offers now costs $139. That’s $50 cheaper than the ad-free version, and $25 less than it cost yesterday. The new subsidy is courtesy a sponsorship by AT&T, which provides the 3G connection.

Why might AT&T want to do that?

“Kindle 3G customers read 20 percent more books, and take advantage of twice as many special offers,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a canned quote.

AT&T probably gets paid on a 3G usage basis, and may even be getting a revenue share from some of the special offers. So it could be worth the $25 subsidy to encourage as many Kindle buyers as possible to get the 3G version and not the wi-fi-only version. (AT&T also gets to report each Kindle 3G as a “subscriber” to Wall Street.)

Either way, at $139, the ad- and AT&T-supported Kindle 3G with special offers is now the same price as the no-ads wi-fi-only version. The ad-supported wi-fi version is still the cheapest, at $114, and has been the most popular Kindle since its launch. I don’t expect AT&T to sponsor that one.