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Half of all AT&T subscribers on unlimited data plans do not need them, suggests study

Half of all AT&T subscribers on unlimited data plans do not need them, suggests study
Quick question: how many of you have a smartphone with unlimited data plan? Okay, now how many of you know whether you really consume that much data? The following might surprise you, but judging by the way some AT&T subscribers spend their mobile internet allowance, you may not need that unlimited plan at all. 

According to a recent study, nearly half of AT&T subscribers (about 48 percent) with grandfathered unlimited data plans use 300MB or less per month. Putting that into perspective, those subscribers have to pay $30 per month for something they don't really need. That is because a $20 monthly plan providing 300MB of mobile data would do just fine for these users, thus saving them $10 per month or $120 per year.

Half of all AT&T subscribers on unlimited data plans do not need them, suggests study
What is more interesting is that about 15 percent of those AT&T users on unlimited data plans consume less than 50 megabytes per month, while one percent of them do not go online from their smartphones at all. Perhaps, some people are just sticking to their old data plan so that they have truly unlimited data on their device in case they need it one day. But with all that extra cash they have to spend each month, is it really worth it? On the other hand, some of these people might just be unaware of the fact that they don't consume that much data as they likely have a Wi-Fi hotspot nearby all the time.

What do you, guys, think?

20 Comments
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posted on 16 Mar 2012, 07:19

1. fervid (Posts: 175; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Last I checked $10 a month was $120 a year, not $20...and, those of us not using it to the fullest are just waiting on a good phone. I've returned 3+ last year that were garbage. While on them though I used 6GB+ each month.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 07:25 1

2. kcombs (Posts: 254; Member since: 15 Dec 2010)


I use under 2GB, but I'm not dropping my unlimited plan any time soon.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 07:44

3. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


lol im wayyyyyyyyyyyyy over 5gb

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 07:45 1

4. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3042; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


I used to use over 8GBs a month but now I dont even use half of that. Wifi when ya can!

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 08:43 1

6. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


My bill recycles tomorrow and I've only used 495MB so far but that is due to WiFi at home and no reception at work(basement). If I had 4G at work then I wouldn't use my computer nearly as much.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 15:02

16. Dirtybyte (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


i have a lg revolution, verizon 4g lte. Im grandfathered in unlimited data . its my main source of internet i stream wifi to all of my home on average i use 150GB monthly. and pay $30 a month, money well spent!!

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 08:30 1

5. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


That is outrageous! $20/mo for 300 measly megabytes? I pay $20/mo for 2GB on T-Mobile!

Even T-Mobile is a rip off though going from 2GB down to 200 because that is a 90% reduction of service at only 50% less cost. But of course they would say its TEN TIMES the data for only twice the price...

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 09:26 1

7. isproab (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 May 2010)


On an unlimited data plan with AT&T and no, I really don't need it, but was willing to pay for it "just in case". Just last month I went over 2GB for maybe the 1st to 3rd time since having AT&T for the last 4 years. I got throttled but only used 2.9GB of data last month total.

I've got about 10 days left in this billing cycle and have only used 1.1GB of data. AT&T was just being a jerk to get people off of these plans. They should realize that I can jump ship, go to Verizon and get 4GB of data and pay less than I pay now. Do it again and see if I stick around!

I'm not constantly streaming video or audio over my phone. I honestly don't understand the lifestyle of people that do. I check personal email, maybe 25 a day. I may stream 10 mins of video from youtube and 30 mins of internet radio. I do a little Facebook (4 mins), weather (check 3 or 4 times), twitter (look at it once a week for 3 misn.) etc, but it’s not enough to quantify.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 14:24

14. -box- (Posts: 3878; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


You'd probably wind up paying more with verizon... slower speeds, more expensive phones ($300 for an Android on contract? Seriously?), and no mobile-to-any-mobile with the messaging plan, so you'd have to bump up your rate plan if you use more than 450 minutes a month. Not worth the savings if you ask me

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 09:51

8. Audelio13 (Posts: 15; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


I've had unlimited since '08, never went over a gig on almost 3 years! When i finally did it was odd to see, but I knew it might not happen again...until I got my Note. When getting my Note, I was switched to the 3 gig plan, I noticed it when I got home, and later call and pretty much made it clear taht I had unlimited and wanted to keep it, they almost did it back when I upgraded from my iPhone to the Captivate, the guy asks "Would you like the 200MB or 2GB plan? As you see with" I stopped the guy right in mid sentence, telling him, "I have unlimited and would like to keep it." I did get my unlimited back, and I'm greatful. My current usage is like 2-3GB, I did this in 2 weeks! And we just started a new cycle, I'm already in 3GB.
And as much as people have bad things to say about at&t, I've always had a great experience, and I thank them for giving back my plan. I hope others know taht all it takes is a simple call, or simple message to them and they will clear it up for ya.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 10:11 1

9. jlscott777 (Posts: 45; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


This is one of the reasons prepaid and pay as you go plans are becoming more popular and slowly better. Five years ago I started working exclusively from my home office and realized after a while I simply did not need spend money on a contract plan so I went to a pay as you go plan which only costs me about 10-20 dollars every 3 months for cell service and no need at all for a data plan since I am virtually always in reach of my DSL connection.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 10:56 1

20. JunitoNH (Posts: 985; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)


Excellent!!! Why I switched to Verizon prepaid. I little more pricier, but I get unlimited text, web(not much, dumbphone), and voice. I realized what I really needed was unlimited voice and text. Post paid account, at least with Verizon are an insult to subscribers. You feel as if you're in an expensive restaurant and paying ala carte. Unless you're a commuter, who wants to watch Netflix, movies, or browse the web on a 4.5" screen. Finally, these findings are not surprising. Since most become bored, and/or never use smartphone to their outmost levels. Certainly, Facebook and Scramble with friends can wait until getting home. :)

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 10:13 1

10. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1009; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


Id rather have the unltd data plan because i like to watch Netflix and Hulu Plus on my phone!! When i upgrade to the Note, it'll make it easier to watch

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 10:15 1

11. Audelio13 (Posts: 15; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


Way easier and too addicting, haha. But the battery will last you a good movie~

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 12:30

12. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6736; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


if dumb AT&T would of let me kept my unlimited data plan i would stream a lot on my phone

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 14:20

13. jabberwocky (Posts: 89; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


I trust them to analyze customer data about as much as I trust them to not drop my calls. Not. At. All.

USUALLY most people don't need more than a couple gigs. AT&T and Verizon are just gunning to charge the pants off of you a few times a year when you do.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 14:25

15. -box- (Posts: 3878; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


The analysis came from Consumer Reports, not AT&T

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 00:10

17. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 913; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


Most people carrying a spare tire every day don't need one either, but I bet they feel more comfortable with than with out one!

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 08:05

18. Dirtybyte (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


Lol I took the spare off my truck.....

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 21:05

19. livingmild (Posts: 15; Member since: 24 Dec 2009)


I'm happy to have my unlimited plan but I honestly feel that At&t is really being petty with throttling your data speeds. Before throttling, I was using up to 12 gigs per month. I wasn't tethering or anything like that. However I do stream a lot. Maybe most people don't need an unlimited plan but I've always felt that it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. At&t should have appealed to the customers who don't use that much data. Maybe they could have offered tham some sort of incentive to drop the plan like maybe an early upgrade or something or free accessories like a bluetooth headset. But when you perform devious acts like throttling only serves to piss off their customers and create all sorts of negative publicity. There was already one successful lawsuit and won't be surprised if there's a class action lawsuit coming soon. They should leave the customers alone who have unlimited data plans or incentivize us to switch, not make it unpalatable for us to keep it.

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