AT&T moves grandfathered subscribers into pricier plans unilaterally

AT&T moves grandfathered subscribers into pricier plans unilaterally
Looking to perform some accounting magic with subscribers grandfathered into certain older mobile data plans, AT&T is moving these customers into new plans that cost them $10 more per month. The carrier is not allowing these customers to continue with their current plans but is throwing in 15GB a month of additional data with the new ones. A support page for AT&T's Mobile Share plans (via The Verge) states, "Enjoy more data. Starting with your October 2019 bill, you’ll get an additional 15GB of data on your Mobile Share plan." But AT&T then puts a price on this act of largesse. "This bonus data comes with a $10 price increase," the support page notes. The new pricing starts with the October 2019 bill which drops this month.

The bottom line (besides the one that AT&T is fattening) is that customers on one of these plans can pay $10 more per month and get 15GB of additional data, switch to an AT&T unlimited plan, or just switch to another carrier. But many subscribers on a tiered data plan are not huge consumers of data and some might not feel like shopping around for a new wireless operator. And while many of these grandfathered subscribers could save money with an unlimited plan, some of them might not even know what their options are; most are older and not mobile-savvy. The notice that AT&T sent affected customers doesn't make it appear that those subscribers have any choices.


Moving subscribers to a new plan without asking if they want to do so and charging $10 a month more for a "bonus" seems unseemly especially after the FTC earlier this week approved a $60 million settlement between the regulatory agency and AT&T; the carrier was accused of throttling the data speeds of unlimited customers who were not told that they had a monthly data cap that when exceeded, allowed AT&T to slow their data speeds by as much as 95%.

The new AT&T Mobile Share plans are as follows:


On the other hand, AT&T's lowest priced unlimited plan starts at $65 per month for one line (with AutoPay and paperless billing), but ironically it allows the carrier to throttle data speeds whenever the network is busy. For $75 per month for one line (with AutoPay and paperless billing), an AT&T customer can receive unlimited talk, text and data. Once more than 50GB of data is used in a month, the subscriber's data speed can be throttled.

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5 Comments

1. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Gotta make up that money they had to pay out for lying to unlimited customers.

2. RocketDoc

Posts: 21; Member since: Jul 24, 2018

Until the newest plans a week ago, the threshold for potential throttling was 22GB, so I can see some people would have been willing to spend more to get more high-speed data guaranteed, or to rollover their unused allotment. Now the people on the lower tiers of the older plans would likely be better off on the new unlimited plans; or AT&T will get more revenue if they don't change with little risk of actually needing to deliver the extra capacity. I'm unconvinced that it's necessarily a case of being old, just unwillingness to frequently monitor the array of offers that keep changing--e. g., customers could use AT&T's network through Straight Talk with guaranteed 25GB for $45/mo and guaranteed 50GB (now 60) including 10GB hotspot for $55/mo, which were probably better deals for many AT&T customers not on family plans. Does that mean AT&T customers generally weren't "mobile-savvy"?

3. ph00ny

Posts: 2065; Member since: May 26, 2011

You can get in contact with them and go back to the older plan. I got the message and they added 15GBs to my plan and i was able to get them to revert back

4. ph00ny

Posts: 2065; Member since: May 26, 2011

It's a shady practice overall and they've never done anything similar to this before and it really caught me off guard

6. Greenmule

Posts: 130; Member since: Apr 24, 2017

It is a shady practice and it caught me off guard as well...last JUL/01/2018, when AT&T did the same thing to my "Mobile Share Advantage" account. The audacity and timerity of these companies to go into my account without my express permission is mind numbing. I did not give my express permission to have my "data doubled", never mind that it only cost $5.00/month. That was not the point. How can AT&T legally touch my accout without my express permission? I would have thought that lawyers would have formed a class action by now. Despite the fact that the CSRs offered to waive the $5.00 charge, I cancelled the service and paid-off the phone. Utterly unacceptable.

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