AT&T Drops Unlimited Mobile Data Plans
June 3, 2010 at 5:08 AM (PT)
AT&T's elimination of unlimited mobile data for new subscribers has a potential impact on the use of cell phones and iPads for streaming media, including radio.
The carrier announced WEDNESDAY that it will eliminate its $30 unlimited data tier and replace it with a two-tiered system, offering "DataPlus," up to 200 MB of data for $15 per month and "DataPro," 2 GB of data for $25 per month. Overages on the "DataPlus" plan will add $15 per each additional 200 MB; on the "DataPro" plan, overages will cost $10 per each additional GB. Users will be able to change plans to a higher tier retroactive to the beginning of a billing cycle if they find themselves exceeding their DataPlus plan.
In addition, AT&T will offer tethering as a $20 add-on to the DataPro plan, allowing sharing of the data with tethered devices like laptops. Current subscribers will have the option of retaining the present $30 unlimited plan on a grandfathered basis.
The change may impact users who stream audio and video on a heavy basis, although AT&T says that 98% of its smartphone customers use under 2GB per month. VERIZON is reportedly planning to change to a similar tiered, limited "buckets of data" pricing structure in the near future.