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AT&T drops minute-based call plans, offers Mobile Share instead

updated 05:54 pm EDT, Sun October 27, 2013

Charging move brings carrier in line with Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint

AT&T has stopped actively providing its traditional voice and data plans to new subscribers. As announced by the carrier earlier this month, it will be pushing new customers towards its Mobile Share plans, which allows users to have multiple devices on an account sharing a single allocation of data, with unlimited minutes and texts also included.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal, this brings AT&T in line with the other main carriers, with Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all only offering plans with unlimited voice and messaging. One exception to the plans will be a single per-minute offering from AT&T, which includes 450 minutes for $40 per month, with texts and data being paid extras.

The Mobile Share plan charges vary depending on the amount of data added on a plan, as well as the number of devices on an account. Excluding devices, the data plans range from $20 for 300MB up to 50GB for $500 per month. Adding smartphones costs $50 at the lowest data bundle, with the price reducing to $30 once the $120 10GB package is selected, with extra basic phones costing $30 per month, notebooks and hotspots for $20, tablets and gaming devices for $10 each, and the Wireless Home Service for $20.

The carrier will apparently not be forcing existing subscribers to switch over to the new plans.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. efithian

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-21-04

    Goodbye ATT, hello T-Mobile.

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-10-01

    It looks like the end of minutes has finally arrived. The amount of minutes people used has been dropping for the last two years as more and more people turn to other messaging services rather than phone calls. The old profitable services: Selling higher minute plans, music subscriptions, and even fancy ringtones are no longer selling.

    At this point, it probably costs the carriers more to track minute usage than they'll get. I suspect they don't think people will start jabbering away now they have "unlimited minutes". Their hope is to sell more data plans -- it's the only profitable service they have left.

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09

    @qazwart:

    ...which suggests that maybe the whole industry should be nationalized, if it's impossible to turn a profit honestly but the service is necessary for the wellbeing of the community. (It would probably improve coverage in rural areas, too.)

  1. NordicBastard

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-30-02

    nationlized? oh yeah, that'll be great...so the bureaucrats can run constantly in the red, thus requiring new taxes, fees, and fines to make up for their stupidity, but hey, it'll be slightly better than banging two rocks together, and only cost an order of magnitude more than it did before. You haven't been paying attention to Obamacare have you....

  1. driven

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 05-08-01

    Have some Americans been so brainwashed with the whole "corporations are bad" crap that people honestly think that turning over innovative industries to the government is a GOOD idea? Have we really jumped the shark as a nation?

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09

    @NordicBastard:

    Yeah, because corporations have done such a good job -- competing, non-compatible standards with overlapping service areas which each get bad reception (only gradually improving because of government mandates), not covering vast regions at all, constantly suing each other over abuse of FRAND patents, and -- as in this case -- ripping off their customers with deliberately bad contract terms.

    Corporations are actually LESS cost-efficient than government; the U.S., for example, pays more on average for health insurance than countries with single-payer (like Canada) but gets, on average, worse service. qazwart is positing that it is not possible for a corporation to have an honest payment plan which turns a profit. If that's the case, the choices in a free market are for them to abandon the industry completely, go out of business, or be dishonest. Better to have a uniform, working system run by the government in that case.

    @driven:

    A better question: given the many, many, many failures of industry -- practically every deregulated industry immediately tanks; Enron with energy, the whole mortgage crisis for banks, the airlines started going bust when deregulation hit, etc. etc. etc. -- why are so many Americans brainwashed into thinking corporations are GOOD? They may be necessary, but they're definitely evil, and need heavy regulation or they start screwing things up irreparably.

  1. ctt61

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-21-05

    Tell me when a last time a government agency create a product that good for the people. Nada.........

  1. GopherAlex

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-23-06

    Nationalizing cell phone service. What a GREAT idea. 2G GPRS and free Motorola ROKRs for all.

    Vicar is either 18 or a complete idiot.

  1. potemkin64

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-01-09

    Nationalized? Because the government is doing so well with the US Post Office and Amtrak operating in the red with no end in sight? Yeah, that'll work.

  1. loco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-17-04

    @NordicBastard, bringing your views about ObamaCare into this conversation is gratuitous for a number of reasons which I won't get into here.

    @everyone who knocks the governement, let me give you a few examples of things the government does well: National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, IRS, Medicare (when it isn't cheated out of negotiating power by Bush), FEMA (when it isn't run by Bush's buddy Brownie), and plenty more where that came from. As for government waste, ask Arnold Schwartzenegger who spent a ton of money figuring out where California money got wasted only to find out the state runs really lean.

    As for the industry: Nationalized? No. Regulated more heavily? Yes.

    Re: nationalization, I don't think I'd be going out on a limb here by saying maybe that's not the best idea. What would be a better idea to solve the problems listed above is to put in a long-term government-regulated plan for interoperability. I'm not even saying the government needs to dictate what technology that is - have the different carriers figure that out themselves. Just give them 10 years to implement similar technology. Two years initially to come together on what that technology will be (or then the government comes in and mediates and decides on its own what the terms will be).

    That would solve the problem of damned if Verizon, damned if AT&T.

  1. loco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-17-04

    @NordicBastard, bringing your views about ObamaCare into this conversation is gratuitous for a number of reasons which I won't get into here.

    @everyone who knocks the governement, let me give you a few examples of things the government does well: National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, IRS, Medicare (when it isn't cheated out of negotiating power by Bush), FEMA (when it isn't run by Bush's buddy Brownie), and plenty more where that came from. As for government waste, ask Arnold Schwartzenegger who spent a ton of money figuring out where California money got wasted only to find out the state runs really lean.

    As for the industry: Nationalized? No. Regulated more heavily? Yes.

    Re: nationalization, I don't think I'd be going out on a limb here by saying maybe that's not the best idea. What would be a better idea to solve the problems listed above is to put in a long-term government-regulated plan for interoperability. I'm not even saying the government needs to dictate what technology that is - have the different carriers figure that out themselves. Just give them 10 years to implement similar technology. Two years initially to come together on what that technology will be (or then the government comes in and mediates and decides on its own what the terms will be).

    That would solve the problem of damned if Verizon, damned if AT&T.

  1. lysolman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-09-05

    @potemkin64,

    I've got to call you out about the Post Office. The Post Office would be completely self sufficient if congress left them alone. They post a profit every year, and normally that money would simply be put right back into the postal service.

    Starting in 2006, however, Congress passed legislation requiring the Post Office to pay into the retiree fund through 2016 to "prefund 50 years of estimated costs".

    This is the only government agency that has be required to do anything like this.

    Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_Accountability_and_Enhancement_Act

  1. potemkin64

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-01-09

    @lysolman,

    I completely agree with you. Unfortunately, until Congress leaves the USPS alone, the USPS and Amtrak remain my two examples of why nationalization is not a good idea.

    There's a long list of things the USPS can do to cure what ails them but Congress said no way and the morass continues.

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