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AT&T intros cheaper, capped data; iPhone tethering with 4.0

updated 07:50 am EDT, Wed June 2, 2010

ATT puts an end to unlimited data plans

AT&T today completely overhauled its data plans to at once limit them but also make them cheaper. The new maximum plan, DataPro, costs $25 per month but provides 2GB of data versus the earlier, $30 unlimited plan. In exchange, AT&T is partly dropping direct overage fees: those who run over the 2GB cap will pay $10 more for an extra 1GB of transfers.

Subscribers who are still on the $30 plan, including iPad owners, can keep their existing unlimited access and don't have to switch. New customers of all devices must use the new plans.

A very basic plan, DataPlus, is also rolling out. The service's 200MB cap is intended for only very casual use but, at $15 per month, costs half as much as the previous minimum smartphone plan; another 200MB is added on for $15. AT&T touts the plan as lowering the baseline for a smart plan to $55 per month.

The move, while an end to unlimited data, also comes with a lowering of the cost of data tethering: customers with the DataPro plan can add tethering for an extra $20 per month versus the previous $30, saving a total of $15 per month over the earlier costs. Those with unlimited data can't add the lower-priced tethering, AT&T told Electronista, although anyone with tethering will keep the grandfathered plan if they still want unlimited on-device data.

iPhone owners will finally have access to tethering after a year's delay and will get it as soon as iPhone 4.0 is available, AT&T said.

Notably, all of the plan changes take effect on June 7, the same day as the WWDC keynote and when Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone.

While limited, AT&T's new plans are expected to cover the needs of even most heavy users; the carrier claims that 98 percent of smartphone users consume less than 2GB of data, although it didn't say how many of them were iPhone owners. The plans are also still relatively inexpensive compared to plans in Canada and Europe. A Rogers data plan with 2GB, for example, costs $45 per month on top of voice.

The timing of the move suggests that AT&T and Apple alike are both concerned about the minimum price of entry for an iPhone, which at the current $70 a month without texting is relatively expensive. Verizon has similar plans to what AT&T will have before the caps, but Sprint and T-Mobile both either lower the price of service or, in Sprint's case, offer unlimited messaging at the same price.


By Electronista Staff


  1. rhapsodyinblue

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2010



    Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a remark about the attractiveness of the IPad data plan when it was unveiled. How does this make any sense when Apple worked out that deal with ATT for the iPad for the affordable data plans and now they're changing them???

  1. dynsight

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Switching I guess

    Wow, does that mean there is no "unlimited" plan?

    I probably use about 4 GB a month, so have to look for Verizon phone?

  1. rhapsodyinblue

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2010


    comment title

    even suggesting 200 MB on an iphone is a joke...

    This will not sit well with many customers.

  1. gudin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000


    New Plans

    Apparently, the new plan will simply tack $10 a month per extra GB you use about 2. So if you usually use more than 2, but less than 3, then you'll usually pay an extra $10 on top of the new pro plan. Meh. I understand it, but haven't decided. I wanted to get a new iPhone (I have a 2G) and an iPad, and was thinking it would be cool to get the new iPhone and a WiFi iPad, and use the iPhone to provide internet to the iPad. I thought tethering would do this.

    However, now I find:
    1. you can't tether an iPad to an iPhone.
    2. the new caps might mean I'd regularly go over.

    However again another forum post from someone mentioned something called MyFi which apparently lets the iPhone be a WiFi hotspot which would solve the problem.

    However cubed, I don't see this on the app store and don't want to jailbreak my new phone. I'm SO confused now.

  1. snork

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    RE: Switching I guess

    Yeah, there's no real mention of the charges if you go over 3GB/month? That could really kill some users.

    I'm not up for a renewal until Oct, so I'm gonna keep my $30/unlimited for now. But overall, the 2GB is just enough for my "average" use. Just checked my data history, and I've maxed at 1.6GB which is comfortably below the 2GB limit. Most of my usage comes from my daily 1 hr commute home where I stream 2 cnet podcasts (Buzz Out Load and The 404) everyday.

  1. vintagegeek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2007


    Bait and Switch for iPad

    2GB on an iPad where you may be consuming considerbly more video than a iPhone is too little. Really bad form by AT&T AND APPLE. Less than 2 months into iPAD and they're already jerking their customers around. We all knew it was too good to be true. You can't use iPhone stats for pricing iPad. Two different beasts.

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001



    Verizon's data plan is way more expensive. Sprint and T-Mobile might be cheaper, but they really don't count. Most people could probably live comfortably in this limit. That means downloading movies and podcasts instead of streaming them and finding WiFi hotspots when possible.

    The problem is that the phone companies have been forcing people to take data plans, whether they want them or not, whenever they get any 3G phone, and almost all phones are 3G phones. I believe Verizon is down to just 4 non-3G phones where you don't have to get data plans. And, people have been complaining. What was suppose to be just $39 per month for service is now over $100 once you add in the data plan, texting, and all the other associated charges they don't mention in the commercials. People have been complaining to the FCC about this, so the phone companies are trying to remove some of the heat.

  1. Zaren

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Close, but no cigar

    $55 a month is better than $70. But, no more unlimited data? Virgin Mobile is now offering a $25 a month plan with 300 minutes of talk and unlimited data, including texting and web. That's better than the pre-paid plan I had with them before, and that's why I'll be staying with them. There's making a profit, and then there's being just plain greedy. AT&T is being greedy.

  1. jwdsail

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000



    So, I have to choose between keeping my old iPhone and unlimited data, or getting the new phone and getting nickel and dimmed to death by ATT, with no option for an unlimited plan?

    I think estimates of iPhone 4 sales can safely be lowered now..

  1. vintagegeek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2007


    Death Star Shafts iPad Buyers

    Can you believe AT&T and APPLE are reneging on they're unlimited $30 plan already. Not even 2 months.

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