News: AT&T to Change Data Plans, Closes Buffet

Posted on June 2, 2010

AT&T’s iPhone and iPad unlimited data plans are getting a bit more limited. Now, for $15 (DataPlus), users can have 200MB/month of data, and for $25 (DataPro), they can have 2GB/month for data. Current users can keep their unlimited data plans.

In addition, if the 200MB/month users go over, they’re automatically billed $15 for another 200MB. If 2GB/month users go over, it’s $10 for another 1GB. Obviously this will limit some use for the more demanding users, which will either need to pay more or switch to Wi-Fi. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as AT&T is trying to control data usage to counter areas of network trouble. For many, 2GB is plenty of data use a month.

Finally, for $20, users can add tethering, but only to the DataPro plan. However, usage with a computer will still top out at 2GB/month.

The specific plans, including some real-world facts and figures are as follows:

  • DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 150 emails with attachments, plus view 400 Web pages, plus post 50 photos on social media sites, plus watch 20 minutes of streaming video – for just $15 per month.** This plan, which can save customers up to 50 percent off their wireless data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the cycle. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
  • DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, plus view 4,000 Web pages, plus post 500 photos to social media sites, plus watch 200 minutes of streaming video – for $25 per month.** Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle. Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.
  • Tethering. Smartphone customers – including iPhone customers – who choose the DataPro plan have the option to add tethering for an additional $20 per month. Tethering lets customers use their smartphones as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks or other computing devices. Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases iPhone OS 4 this summer.

If you currently have the unlimited data plan, you can keep it as long as you don’t switch to any of these. If you switch, you cannot switch back. This also leads us to wonder—what other carriers are going to get rid of the all-you-can-surf plans?

This post has been filed in News