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AT&T eliminates per minute billing plans for talk

Posted: , by Alan F.

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AT&T eliminates per minute billing plans for talk
A published report late last week said that as expected, AT&T has eliminated per minute billing for new customers. Those signing up as a new AT&T customer will have to sign up for a plan with unlimited talk and unlimited text with one exception. This aligns the nation's second largest carrier with the other three majors, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. To show you how far we've come, a Wall Street Journal story from 1984 notes how cell service was available in only 21 metro markets. U.S West was charging $200 monthly (equivalent to $450 in 2013 dollars) for 300 minutes of calling, but not including long distance.

We said that AT&T customers have an exception to the unlimited talk and text and that is a plan that offers 450 minutes of talk for $40 a month, but charges extra for text and data. The carriers are merely giving the public what it wants as demand for data is sky high. But at the same time, consumers are being squeezed out of grandfathered plans. For example, T-Mobile is trying to force its customers with legacy voice plans into newer plans with unlimited voice service.

Part of the reason to get consumers off per minute billing plans has to do with freeing up the old, outdated dedicated voice lines used for older legacy plans. With the advent of voice over LTE, carriers will be able to use the same pipelines that carry data, to carry voice. Once those old outdated pipes are no longer needed, they can be revamped and used to carry more data

We gave you a heads up about AT&T's actions about two weeks ago, and the end to tiered voice plans took effect on Friday.

source: WSJ

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posted on 27 Oct 2013, 18:56 1

1. mdorno (Posts: 7; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)


"Once those old outdated pipes are no longer needed, they can be revamped and used to carry more data."

As a Verizon customer, I can see them charging even more for data as more data is being pushed through their pipeline.

Also, since I have an old unlimited Alltel plan, my last day as a Verizon customer is when they discontinue my plan.

posted on 27 Oct 2013, 19:16 1

2. Bernoulli (Posts: 1436; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


Nice man! How much are you paying a month?

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 04:36

6. mdorno (Posts: 7; Member since: 17 Aug 2011)


My base plan costs 69.99 for 500 min talk, unlimited data, and 5 friends and family numbers. Add 6.99 for friends and family texting, and whatever for insurance, and add all the other bs fees. After tax and with my work discount its 78.50 a month.

Much better than the Verizon equivalent.

posted on 27 Oct 2013, 20:45 1

3. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6196; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Typical AT&T over charging their consumers. Just glad I left them and went prepaid.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 19:56

10. rightcue805 (Posts: 55; Member since: 08 Jul 2013)


because you like getting sh**TY service and paying way to much for a phone? yep your very smart

posted on 27 Oct 2013, 21:27 1

4. sprockkets (Posts: 1146; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


"Part of the reason to get consumers off per minute billing plans has to do with freeing up the old, outdated dedicated voice lines used for older legacy plans. With the advent of voice over LTE, carriers will be able to use the same pipelines that carry data, to carry voice. Once those old outdated pipes are no longer needed, they can be revamped and used to carry more data"

FYI, they've been doing this since the 2G edge days. But even then, all calls have been digital for like, 15 years, since the TDMA days.

The only people still doing circuit switched calls is old analog land lines.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 01:06 1

5. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1271; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Voice over LTE isn't available anywhere yet, and the first Verizon is supposed to see it is mid 2014. I talked with the Verizon regional president for my area and they're apparently going to keep the CDMA lines up for another 10-15 years as a backup. It's not that they want people off the older lines, it's the they want them off unlimited data and onto a tiered plan, where they can make more money from overages and selling large data plans for a premium.

One thing I'd like to know, how are calls going to be figured on VOLTE? For some that could be what causes them overages if they have no way to figure how much data calls use.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 09:06 1

7. theoak (Posts: 320; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


I think you have to blame Apple in a large degree for this to be honest.

Data WAS relatively affordable. It used to be about texting and voice minutes.

Apple then releases iMessage ... which uses the data plan. FaceTime ... again ... which uses the data plan.

This is why carriers at first were very resistant to allow FaceTime over cellular. What! You can talk to someone without using minutes! Gasp! And ... and ... you can text people without using a texting plan! No! ;)

Case and point ... all my wife's friends (well 90%) have an iPhone. I do not pay for a texting plan for her. She can iMessage the majority of folks just fine.

So ... now ... ALL the plans are ... unlimited voice, unlimited texting (big deal though as you are not using the voice or SMS network parts of your carriers network anyway) ... but the carriers WILL charge you through the nose for data.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 09:46 1

8. 14545 (Posts: 1093; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


I blame apple for a different reason. The reason I blame apple is because they caused the mass market to get into the "smartphone" game. Before it was business people and geeks. (IE, most of us) Now so the average Joe and Sally can actually afford an iPhone the carriers subsidize them through the nose.

Then they realize these same people are too stupid to watch their allotments so they will go over watching cat videos and stupid stuff like that. That's the reason we went from, according to VZW's own data contract in 2008, 5gb being reasonable, to now 2 gb is the new reasonable. When I signed up for my first unlimited plan it had that disclaimer in it. Now, with 1920x1080 screens and 5-50 downlink speeds, how is less than half that number now the new reasonable?

I say we can thank all these teenage girls and their iPhones for shifting the market towards iOS and stupidity while using their phones. I mean just look at the british teen on phonearena a couple of months ago that cost her family many grand because of stupidity while using her phone. That's why these telco's know they can get away with it.

Then, given their perfect monopoly because of the wonderful FCC competition can't join the ranks to help self regulate the market. So, that introduces crappy 2-3 gb minimum data plans for 30 a month.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 14:26

9. Landmarkcm (Posts: 418; Member since: 11 Aug 2009)


Glad I switched to the 450 nation plan before this change took effect as its a better deal for me with the 3gb of data add on etc then the mobile share is for one person. Plus with any mobile calling & now Google hangouts for calling there's really no need for Unlimited minutes already included. At&t should have kept the minute plans or at least make a better price point on the mobile share between the 1gb&4gb.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 20:03 1

11. rightcue805 (Posts: 55; Member since: 08 Jul 2013)


see this doesn't make sence to me, i used all of 145 mins last month in phone calls. why do i need unlimted talk? charge me more money for something I don't need/ use. they already charge me 30 bucks for unlimited texting and I think that is to much.

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