AT&T announced today that, on June 7th, unlimited mobile data plans for new users are going bye-bye in favor of two new “limited” data plans. It also provided new details on its U.S. iPhone tethering plan.
Two new data plans
AT&T currently offers an unlimited data plan for both the iPad and iPhone for $30 a month. A 250MB plan is available for the iPad for $15 a month. Both these plans are being nixed in favor of two new plans that will be available for both devices:
DataPlus ($15 per month): Up to 200MB per billing cycle. If you exceed 200MB, you’ll be charged $15 for each additional 200MB of data used.
DataPro ($25 per month): Up to 2GB of data per billing cycle. If you exceed 2GB, you’ll be charged $10 for each additional 1GB of data used.
Each new plan only counts data sent over AT&T’s cellular network, not from Wi-Fi or from any of the AT&T hotspots from which you’ll still get free unlimited data access. The new plans also only affect data plans—voice and texting plans remain unchanged. And although current users can switch to one of the new plans, they don’t have to. Those would like to keep their unlimited data plans can do so. But for those that would like to switch, no contract extension will be required.
Though many are probably going to be pretty upset that AT&T is axing their unlimited data plans, AT&T claims that, on average, 65 percent of their smartphone users use less than 200MB of data a month and 98 percent use less than 2GB per month. With my iPhone usually glued to my right hand, I consider myself a “power data user” and I usually average only 125MB a month. Though if I was tethering, I could easily see myself using 2-3GB’s of data a month. But for those of us that don’t need unlimited data, the new plans can mean a $5-$15 monthly discount.
New details on tethering
We’ve been waiting far too long for the option to tether our iPhones to our Macbooks—well rejoice all ye of wavering patience! AT&T has FINALLY annouced that tethering will be available once Apple releases iPhone OS 4 later this summer. It’ll only cost you $20 a month for that privilege, aside from the price of the data plan, of course.
It does seem a little suspect (and not at all surprising) that AT&T is axing its unlimited mobile data plan right as it announces tethering. Using your iPhone’s 3G connection as your computer’s internet connection is a fast way to chew through data quickly, and it’s doubtful that AT&T is going to want to give you all that tasty bandwidth for free. AT&T just might require users who want to tether to switch to one of their new “limited” data plans to prevent them from “overusing” data, unless you’d like to pay for that extra data, of course. We’ll have to wait and see on that one….