AT&T Will Let You Share Data Between Your iPad and iPhone… Someday



AT&T Chief Executive Ralph de la Vega teased his company’s customers at the D9 conference this week by announcing they are “working on” shared data plans that would allow users to save up their minutes and data plans between their devices… but when will they be available?

Shared data plans would allow users to subscribe to one plan which they can use across a number of different devices. You pay one monthly fee and get a unified pool of minutes and data which you can then share between your iPhone, your iPad and your AT&T netbook.

However, according to Engadget, de la Vega gave no indication of when users can take advantage of this service or how much it might cost. They noted:

… it certainly sounds like this is something that’s still a ways out from actually being launched.

Despite being the exclusive provider of the iPhone for years in the U.S. before the device also launched on Verizon this February, AT&T has continued to fall behind by not providing the same services that are already offered by its rivals. The company did not introduce Wi-Fi tethering to the iPhone until the device launched on Verizon, and then it was forced to follow in Verizon’s footsteps. If AT&T doesn’t hurry up with its shared data plans, it could be behind Verizon with those, too.

At the Reuters Global Technology Summit last month, Fran Shammo, Verizon’s chief financial officer, revealed that shared data plans were inevitable:

We had individual minutes for individual users. Then we eventually got to what we call family share where everyone in the family shares the same minutes. I think it’s safe to assume that at some point you are going to have mega-plans (for data) and people are going to share that mega-plan based on the number of devices within their family. That’s just a logical progression.

So, there you go – you’ll certainly get shared data plans in the U.S., but when they’ll come is a mystery right now.

[via AppleInsider]

12 responses to “AT&T Will Let You Share Data Between Your iPad and iPhone… Someday”

  1. Raganjames says:

    AT&T MUST DO THIS!!!!!

  2. Sharkbait SG says:

    I don’t envy phone users in the US – the phone plans in the US are close to daylight robbery, really abysmal and expensive. In Singapore, I pay S$39 (approx US$ 31) a month for 100 mins outgoing, 500 SMS/MMS and 12GB data, plus all incoming calls are free. If I exceed that huge amount of data, there’s a data cap of S$30 (US$24) for unlimited data.

    For an extra S$5 (US$4) a month, I get a multi-SIM card which goes into my iPad, and I can share/utilize the data allotment of my phone plan with/on my iPad as well. But because of corporate plans that my carrier (well, all the carriers in Singapore do the same) offers, my S$39 plan is discounted to S$32.80, so I pay S$37.80 (US$30) a month for all that data (admittedly, the amount of talk time is not huge, but is usually sufficient).

    The $39 plan is the cheapest voice+data plan. If that’s not enough minutes of talk time, there are other plans at S$56 (US$45, 200 mins outgoing), S$95 (US$77, 500 mins outgoing) or S$205 (US$166, 2000 mins outgoing).

    Now, whenever I hear/read of the expensive and restricted plans in the US, I thank my lucky stars I live in Singapore!

  3. Mike Rathjen says:

    USA sounds expensive only because all the news is about AT&T and Verizon, the two iPhone carriers. T-Mobile, Sprint, and many regional carriers are less expensive.

    In the US, the drawback to the less expensive carriers is smaller network coverage. AT&T and Verizon have built and paid for enormous networks covering a huge country with most areas having low population density. Low population density means low customer density.

    Singapore of course has a high population density. That’s convenient if you want to build a country-wide wireless network.

  4. cheesy11 says:

    this will happen eventually, i dont expect it anytime soon, and i sure am not paying any more

  5. Eric_S_Romero says:

    Ralph de la Vega, you are, sir, a complete idiot. The reason people don’t leave AT&T is because people know that if they want out of their contract, that’s a $325 early termination fee. They (AT&T customers) know that’s very unrealistic in a family’s budget or even someone that has a single plan for themselves. Most people here in the U.S. don’t even make that in a week’s work, so for someone who is fed up with AT&T, they pay their phone bill and wait until their contact expires so they can get rid of your service. 

    I’ve had AT&T and hated their service. I live in what is considered the WORST part of the country for AT&T (San Francisco Bay Area); AT&T has had CONSTANT problems with their 3G network all over the San Francisco Bay Area; especially in downtown San Francisco, and even in Fremont, California. AT&T claims that they have the fastest 3G network in America, but what Mr. de la Vega doesn’t tell the customers “Good luck finding a signal.” 

    AT&T is NEVER going to fix their 3G network where people have been complaining of where the WORST service is: San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, because that cost money to built new cell phone towers in areas, and AT&T see’s no problem with their 3G network. AT&T won’t fix their network unless people start leaving in droves by the millions as the iPhone goes to other carriers: Sprint and T-Mobile (if the AT&T and T-Mobile doesn’t fly with the U.S. Justice Department). 

    As for the shared data pool, I honestly think it’s a maybe. They got rid of their unlimited data plan because the AT&T network was NOT ready for the MASSIVE data hit from iPhone users. I just think that they MAY put into effect a larger allowed data pool (from 2GB to 5GB, just an educated guess) plan for smartphone users, but like all good things, we just have to wait and see. 

  6. jondrew says:

    The termination fee is there because you get your phone “discounted” when you sign on with a carrier. Subsidizing phones on a contract is nothing new and for whatever reason has been the cellphone business model in the US for quite some time. I might add however, that as I recall most phone plans have 30 day trials (or some period like that) which allows you to get your money back if you are not satisfied with the service. I recently cancelled data service with clearwire and had no problems getting a refund because I thought the service stunk. If you get an iPhone from ATT and realized the service was every bit as lousy as people claim, you should have cancelled out and gone somewhere else. Having said that, I’ve never had problems with my ATT iPhone/iPad service here in the Orlando fl area. My suspicion is that outside some of the notoriously poor service areas ATT operates in (NYC, SF etc) most ATT customers are satisfied to the point they have not swung over to Verizon.
    But back to the point of this article, I think a shared data plan would be a fantasic idea. I have 3 iPhones and 2 3G iPads on my account and a shared data plan would most likely save me money just like the family talk/text plan does.
    My personal experience with ATT lately has been very positive interns of their custom service and plan options. Their big challenge is going to be getting in on the high speed wireless bandwagon before they get left behind.

  7. hkhaial says:

    Consumers need to make enough noise to compel the carriers to develop shared data plans. They’re simply not motivated to introduce it because it’s a revenue source so long as it’s a 1:1 relationship.  So go ahead, call your carrier or account manager and make some noise; that it’s ridiculous to own a smartphone, tablet, and an air-card each with it’s own data plan.