Some big changes over at AT&T when the Iphone 4/HD OS4 launches. I wonder if this new change in pricing will change what Verizon does, it usually seems when one of the big carriers change their plans, the others seem to not be far behind. I know this will be good for my husband, as he carries a iPhone and data-connect card, and will no longer have to carry both, and save a couple bucks.
AT&T makes sweeping changes to data plans, iPhone tethering coming at OS 4 launch -- Engadget
You might think that AT&T would hold off for a national HSPA+ deployment or a full-on LTE launch before tweaking its data pricing strategy, but not so much -- the carrier is coming out swinging today with some significant changes that should benefit the overwhelming majority of its smartphone users (and could stand to harm a select few). Let's break down the major points:
DataPlus / DataPro
- The existing $30 fair-use "unlimited" smartphone data plan is being replaced by two new options: $15 per month for 200MB and $25 for 2GB (called "DataPlus" and "DataPro," respectively). Customers currently on the $30 plan are welcome to stay on it, but they can switch at any time without extending their contract.
- AT&T's new overage system is arguably the game changer: on the $15 plan, you'll pay $15 for each additional 200MB, but on the $25 plan, you'll pay $10 for each additional GB. It's simple and straightforward -- but most importantly, it won't bankrupt you if you go over by a gig or three in a month. This compares to $50 per gigabyte of overage on AT&T's 5GB DataConnect plan for laptops.
- The carrier's going to be very flexible about changing between the DataPlus and DataPro plans -- if you're on DataPlus, for example, and you discover that you're blowing past your allotment, you can choose either to start DataPro the following billing cycle, pro-rate it, or apply the higher plan retroactively to the beginning of your current billing cycle. That's pretty wild.
- Tethering will be offered as an add-on to the DataPro plan for an additional $20 per month, which means you'll pay a total of $45 a month for 2GB of data shared between your phone and your tethered devices. If you're light on the usage, it's a sweet deal -- but if you scale it up and you're using the data almost exclusively on your laptop, it compares unfavorably to the traditional DataConnect plan: $60 versus $75 for 5GB (and in the unlikely even you've got a webOS device on Verizon, it compares even less favorably). If you're striking a balance of data use between a smartphone and tethered gear, AT&T's new setup is still pretty solid considering that you would've been paying $60 for the USB stick plus $30 for smartphone data before.
- Yes, it's finally happening: AT&T's iPhones will get access to the tethering option, too.
- iPad users are also affected by the change. The $30 iPad data plan -- lauded for being labeled by AT&T as truly unlimited -- goes away to be replaced by the same $25 / 2GB plan that smartphone users will see, though current subscribers to the $30 plan can continue unaffected.
Everything launches on June 7, except for iPhone tethering -- it'll launch when OS 4 does. In the meantime, we're told users can sign up for the $30 plans both on their phones and iPads if they'd like to be grandfathered in. Follow the break for more details along with AT&T's full press release.
We're definitely mourning the death of unlimited data -- "unlimited" is a word that consumers always naturally like to hear -- but AT&T points out that 98 percent of its smartphone subscribers use less than 2GB a month, which means that nearly all users ultimately stand to see a $5 reduction in their monthly bills. We spoke to Mark Collins -- AT&T Mobility's senior vice president of data and voice products -- about the changes for a few clarifications on the company's strategy, and he made it crystal clear that the concept of unlimited data is a thing in the past (echoing comments made recently by Verizon's Lowell McAdam), particularly in light of the oncoming spectrum crunch that stands to make wireless broadband an even more precious commodity than it already is. He also mentioned that laptop plans are unaffected by this move, though he went on to say that they've laid a "framework" for data pricing here that should continue all the way through to the company's LTE rollout, so we wouldn't be surprised to see some tweaks made on the laptop side sooner or later (to reduce overage fees, if nothing else).
We mentioned that the change stands to hurt a few users, and it's true -- we're extremely heavy smartphone users here, for example, and we're hard-pressed to break even a gigabyte of usage in a month; anyone doing a boatload of video streaming though, or lacking access to WiFi at home and the office (AT&T's quick to boast about its 20,000-odd hotspots) might find themselves regularly slamming headlong into that 2GB cap, and there won't be any option but to buy overage. For what it's worth, Collins pointed out to us that the plans will feature automatic text and email alerts at 65, 90, and 100 percent usage of your monthly allowance (and at 75 and 100 percent usage of each overage purchase), so it should be pretty easy to keep an eye on things and make sure you don't break the bank.