AT&T says goodbye to unlimited data plans & hello to cheaper ones

AT&T says goodbye to unlimited data plans & hello to cheaper ones
The day has finally arrived for tiered data plans supplanting the all-you-can-eat nature of the unlimited plans we've been so accustomed to being offered for smartphones. Although there are probably a lot of customers who are breathing in a sigh of joy knowing that they'll be saving some money in the long run with their contract, others aren't too happy with the notion that they'll have to pay more money if they go over their allotted amount per month. Thankfully those who are currently on an unlimited data plan can choose to sit still with their offering, but going forward starting on June 7, customers will have an option of choosing two new data plans.

For those who rarely find themselves eating up any data per month can choose to go with the DataPlus plan which offers 200MB of data per month for $15. According to AT&T, they believe that 65 percent of their customers fit into this bill and could obviously benefit on the cheaper plan. However, they will be charged $15 more for an additional 200MB of data if they exceed the initial 200MB cap – so basically it seems like $30 for 400MB. On the other hand, heavy users will most likely side with the DataPro plan which tallies in at 2GB per month for $25. Out of all their customers, only 2 percent would probably exceed this amount as they say that 98 percent of their customers use less than 2GB per month on the average. If they exceed this quota, they will be issued an additional 1GB of data for $10. Seeing that tethering is surely going to be a prominent thing as we witness the next iPhone, smartphone customers who are on the DataPro plan can add this option for an additional $20 per month. Finally, Apple iPad owners will also be offered the same plans in place of the current unlimited one – $15 for 200MB or $25 for 2GB.

So if you're a heavy data user, you'd probably want to stick to that current unlimited data plan that you're on right now to save yourself some money. However, it's really difficult to say how these new plan offerings will affect both customers and AT&T in the long run. Ultimately this new move is pretty gutsy when you consider how entrenched customers are when it comes to the notion of unlimited data plans, but of course AT&T positions it as being “more affordable for more people to enjoy the benefits of the mobile Internet.” We'll see who is next to follow suit with a similar move of their own.

source: AT&T



1. vzw fanman

Posts: 1977; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

sucks for all you gayt&t customers!!!!

5. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

If 98% of AT&T customers use less than 2gb/mo., and those that use more can choose to keep their current unlimited plan, How does it suck for them? Only ones that will lose r those looking to save money but don't pay attention to their usage. But they need a wakeup anyway. Sounds like a win/win since they can keep their unlimited.

19. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 2009

Sucks for at&t customers?? Verizon CEO also said that Unlimited Data is unsustainable...Tiered pricing will be coming to all carriers soon enough...I do not agree with it, but that is the direction the industry is moving in. I will just have to move to a city that has abundant wifi. It is funny how most wifi hotspots are airports and starbucks...places where u are sitting...these are mobile devices the point is to be moving around why u use them not be stuck in one spot.

2. GlenF

Posts: 50; Member since: Nov 02, 2009

$10 per gb after 2 GB? that automatically makes it more expensive than their current plan and you get unlim with current. Dumb My Fiance uses a Blackberry for phone, text, Facebook, twitter & weather and nothing else. She's already used 177MB this month. How is the $15 plan even remotely feasable for most smartphone users? what you're going to see is alot of people lowering theirn plans to "save money" and then getting nailed with $10 or $15 add ons when they go over the 200MB or 2GB. There is no way this will eliminate "Bill Shock" it will just help line AT&T's pockets

3. Jyakotu

Posts: 867; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Oh the irony of people complaining about a data cap. These are going to be the same people who complained about having to pay $30 for Unlimited Data. Here's how AT&T should've done it: DataPlus - 500MB for $10 DataPro - 5GB for $20 DataUnlimited - Unlimited data for $30 Tethering - Free What I'm trying to say is, maybe for DataPlus and DataPro, they should increase the amount of data people can use. Tethering should be free and I think the Unlimited Data option should be kept. Idk if people agree with my pricing suggestion, but I think it'll ease some people.

20. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 2009

No one gives tethering away...dream on. But they should adopt your tier it is fair.

28. SPcamert

Posts: 56; Member since: Feb 06, 2010

Verizon does on Palm Pre and Pixi Plus

32. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

tmobile doesnt charge for tethering on ANY phones. i guess the dream is reality.. lol

34. Jyakotu

Posts: 867; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Actually, you're wrong. You can tether for free on Verizon with the Mobile HotSpot and I believe T-Mobile allows free tethering too.

38. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

that's dumb you want them to continue offering 30 unlimited and give cheaper data plans with large allowances? They're network is over congested and that's why they're are doing this. You're idea would make their network even more congested. I think their current plans are fair. It gives the light users cheaper plan options and the heavy users that screw up the network for everybody have to at least pay for it. I use a lot of wifi so I can probably get away with the 200mb/$15, but will definitely stay within $25 plan so at a minimum I'll save $5. Blackberry users can stay for sure within 200mb because their data is optimized.

4. jtucker1987

Posts: 89; Member since: May 06, 2010

Wow this sucks for us att customers!! At least they will grandfather our unlimited plans even if we upgrade!!

7. testman22

Posts: 339; Member since: Nov 03, 2009

Um no... if you upgrade you are forced to change your plan

8. Fallout

Posts: 20; Member since: Apr 22, 2010

nah, you aren't forced to change plans:

9. jtucker1987

Posts: 89; Member since: May 06, 2010

um no.... the at&t spokesman said "Existing customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension. They are also not required to switch to the new plans if they renew their contract or switch to another smartphone."

21. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 2009

I called AT&T customer service this morning as i was very pissed upon hearing this. I confirmed that if you have a smartphone now and upgrade even from a windows mobile or blackberry to an iPhone 4G you will be able to keep your unlimited data. This mainly affects new customers. A lot of customers want the iPhone but do not want the expense...The techies and early adopters that need the unl data have it...

35. majicc07

Posts: 28; Member since: May 07, 2009

This article is so wrong in some parts. The only way you will have to chnage to the lower data plans is if you want to tether. If you just want an iphone as a phone then you will be able to get the $30 unlimited plan at any time. With all the wifi that is available I can't see how people would go over. At&t has 20,000 hotspots out there not to mention if the time square project goes well, which it wil,l the y will deploy more cities with free wifi for their customers. I'm sorry but some of the blogs I've read that people use 100s of gigs a month is nuts. There is no way you should use that much data on a PDA over 3G. Not to sound like an ass but that is the main cause for these tiered plans. I bet anything VZ will be next being that their data usage has increased. Its also easy to offer unlimited data and free tethering when you have hardly any data devices or customers on your network like T Mobile or when you are so desperate for customers like Sprint that your willing to give away the farm. I'm not pro at&t but I think they get a bum rap for somethings. The way this article is written is proof. It makes it sound that if you upgrade you will loose your unlimited plan. They also don't mention that if you preorder your ipad before the 7th you will still get the unlimited $30 plan. Go ahead haters have your way

6. tkasperek

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 02, 2010

At&t is really driving into a brickwall with this. All they are doing is trying to get customers to not bog down their network by forcing their customers to use less and less data. When you limit data, most customers will be extra cautious to use their phone for internet use. This is why At&t just flat out sucks. Rather then fix their Data network they will instead try to free up the amount of usage on it. Ha. I still can't believe a company as smart as apple uses a network/company like At&t. What a joke. iPhone users enjoy your new plans. I'll enjoy my Droid and use it as much as I like without a worry of data overages. Plus I'll actually have coverage. Imagine that.

12. Gawain

Posts: 448; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

In addition to what you said, I think what is also telling about this change is this: AT&T is still not able to upgrade their network sufficiently meet the demand, so they will force a decline in data usage by pricing it out.

14. Gawain

Posts: 448; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

Whoops...somehow I managed to miss the middle of your post where you said pretty much the same thing...and I can't delete mine so...fml

22. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 2009

AT&T has fixed their network and are expanding and upgrading 3G as well as adding Wi-Fi hot spots. Even the Verizon CEO said that unlimited data is not sustainable. tiered pricing is the future so we will just have to get use to it. Soon, voice prices will decline and data will increase.

23. tkasperek

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 02, 2010

At&t has restructured their network. They have not upgraded it. Yes Verizon's CEO has stated that unlimited data is not sustainable. Yet Verizon will keep unlimited Data plans for its smartphones since its network can support its consumers usage. Verizon has already tiered its data plans for multimedia phones which is understandable for the select devices that require the multimedia data plan. But as far as smart phones go, Verizon will not limit their smartphones.

24. paps511

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 01, 2009

AT&T has not "fixed" their network. they are fixING it. it is still pretty bad, but getting better. it will be a long time before it is good and fixed.

36. majicc07

Posts: 28; Member since: May 07, 2009

If you guys read the Steve Jobs interview, any network that the iphone would have launched on would have went through the same thing as what at&t went through. No one could have imagined that data would have exploded like it did. Before the iphone people were not using thier BB's for anything more than e mail now more and more internet. I have been in wireless for 13 years and before the iphone you couldn't give the internet away. Once people started to see how awesome the browser was on the iphone then data packages became a lot more easy to sell. Also if I do recall a lot of people on this site thought the iphone was going to flop (nope) as well as the ipad was going to flop (double nope). If half of the people on this site were running these companies they would all be out of business. If you owned your own business would you be handing out everything for free? Last time I checked I didn't see non profit after any of these companies name...

40. Mateo8326

Posts: 472; Member since: Jul 15, 2009

yeah i read the article majicc07 makes perfect sense nobody anticpated on the usage of data when that iphone came out ATT number #1 was it number #1 demise

10. ViZeeDub

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 02, 2010

Why are people whining so much? No one with any bit of intelligence can say it's fair for someone who uses 200mb to pay the same as someone who uses 5gb... Just use your home internet and wifi more, the 3G when necessary, and thank the carrier for lowering the price. Win Win for everyone, hopefully Verizon does this soon too.. I will agree that the 20$ tethering without any more of an allotment is robbery though

11. jtz87

Posts: 6; Member since: Nov 05, 2009

I hate to burst anyone's "Big Red" bubble, but we are expected to follow suit with these tiered data packages. They will most likely hit during Q4, but nonetheless they are coming soon.. It will be a major advantage to those customers who are interested in Smartphone devices but don't have the need for unlimited data at either $29.99 or $44.99. There are MANY of Verizon customers who use over 2 GB's of data on their Smartphone per month. Not to slam AT&T, but they would probably have customers of the same caliber if their network could support the type of usage VZW customers experience. I'm not sure how the pricing or "allowances" are going to work just yet, but I'm sure we will have packages that will comfortably accomodate our customers. You shouldn't be penalized for using your Smartphone for exactly what it is made to do "too much".

17. BrokenImaege

Posts: 173; Member since: Jul 27, 2009

Our tierd plans though are based on 4G LTE and as our CEO said, costs are like a third of current costs. Plus with the transfer speeds, I see our plans a lot better than this. I see our GB allowance being a lot more than this with those transfer speeds. Otherwise, there are all types of issues coming with the new phones next year becuase people will burn through it and not even realize it. Also, we are going to start pushing more and more hotspots with our phones.

37. majicc07

Posts: 28; Member since: May 07, 2009

I bet you anything you will see it on your 3G as well. As for jtz87, at&t has way more data going over thier network than VZ and at a faster rate. They also have double the data devices than VZ per last quarter results. The same will be said for 2011. MAybe in 2012 it will change cause of the slight lead you will have with 4G over at&t. I don't think they are penalizing customers for using data, I just think that they realize that wifi is pretty much everywhere or soon will be. If you are at home you should be using wifi same goes for work in most cases. It still blows my mind that people can use over 5 GIG of data on 3G. I use my iphone for pretty much everything and still don't come close to the 5 GIG cut off.

13. hbk

Posts: 9; Member since: May 15, 2010

Don't you guys know your history? If AT&T is doing this tiered data plans Verizon will follow suit as well. Rememeber back in January when Verizon drastically cut their price plans? AT&T announced the exact same changes 4 hours later. Verizon increased their ETF's for smartphones...AT&T did so as well, recently but still followed suit. Besides Verizon CEO has already announced that unlimited data plans are slowly going to disappear with the launch of the 4G network. So AT&T and Verizon customers commence your whining.

15. jundibasam

Posts: 119; Member since: Aug 05, 2009

This is why I would never go back to AT&T and will be happy with Verizon. I just averaged up my data usage for the last 12 months. I have been averaging 6.2 GB of data per month on my phone, and in the last 2 months that I've had the Droid Incredible, that average has shot up to nearly 8 GB of data. Point is, I think AT&T did this to protect their network with the upcoming launch of the next iPhone that is going to support multi-tasking and tethering, which is going to increase the data loads on their network even more than right now. I know Verizon will come out with tiered pricing, but I think it will mainly be for their wireless Internet cards at first and even when/if they go tiered pricing on data plans, I think it will be much more competitive than what AT&T will offer because their network will be able to support it.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.