AT&T shook up the mobile space this AM with the introduction of new wireless data packages that go into effect next week… just in time for the fourth generation iPhone and as an accompaniment to the new $325 smartphone early termination fee (ETF).
For the last couple years, 5GB and Unlimited data have been pretty much synonymous for the carriers – with consumer rates generally running $30/month. But times are a’changing and we’re heading into an era of more tightly metered usage. Within just the last two weeks Verizon has alluded to data buckets, Sprint’s raised rates to $40 on their flagship EVO smartphone, and AT&T will be reducing rates… along with a lowered data ceiling.
AT&T’s “DataPro” plan will run $25/mo and includes 2GB of data usage, with overages running $10/GB. All in all, it’s not an unreasonable proposition as AT&T states 98% of their customers consume less than 2GB a month. In looking at my stats, I’m comfortably under the cap at <500MB/month. (Then again, I’m also without service about 8 hours a day from an AT&T dead zone.)
The revised data package will be effective on new AT&T smartphone service subscriptions. Additionally, existing customers have the option to swap their current plan (without triggering a contract extension). One reason to make a change is to potentially save $60/yr. And, for iPhone customers, the only way to enable upcoming tethering functionality (for another $20/mo) is to embrace the new plan. Which is really the only thing that rubs me the wrong way… If I’m paying by the byte, why should my connection method or usage patterns matter?
Also, file this one under the ‘poor planning’, ‘just kidding’, or maybe ‘false advertising‘ category: Merely 6 weeks after launching “breakthrough” pricing on unlimited iPad data service, that plan is history.