AT&T announced June 2 in a press release that the current $30 per month unlimited data plan for most devices has been replaced as of June 7 and they will instead offer a lower cost, $15 per month plan for 200 megabytes of data and a $25 per month plan for 2 gigabytes of data.
AT&T also announced “tethering for iPhone will be available when Apple releases OS 4.0 this summer,” on June 21. Tethering allows one to use the Internet connection on the phone to access the web on their computer. Tethering will cost an additional $20 per month.
Current customers will be allowed to keep their original plans and pricing. Customers will also be given the choice to move to the new plan models without having to renew their contracts. New customers will only be able to choose from the cheaper plan, dubbed “DataPlus,” and the higher tier plan, “DataPro.”
Students such as Steve Titus and Richie Cahill, Associated Students’ Government President and Vice President at CSU-Pueblo, respectively, who currently own iPhones said they were generally against updating their plans and putting a limit on their data usage. “No way am I going to do that,” Cahill commented, “I’d rather pay $5 extra in case I go over.”
“Currently, 65 percent of AT&T customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average,” the AT&T press release claims, and “98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than two GB of data a month on average.”
While customers will be allowed to keep their current plans, customers who want a tethering option will have to switch over to the DataPro plan. “The vast majority of smartphones that AT&T offers have built in Wi-Fi,” the press release stated and mentions that AT&T also offers many free Wi-Fi hotspots in the U.S.
Because of the new limits on data, AT&T customers will receive text notifications at 65, 90 and 100 percent usage of their data. On certain phones a free application will be offered to track data usage.
New iPad customers wanting the unlimited plan will have to use a DataPro plan. The current lower usage data plan with 250 MB of data for iPad will continue to be offered for the same $15 rate.
AT&T maintains that since most customers use less than two GB of data per month, the vast majority of users will see their bills drop $5 per month. If customers go over their allotted amount of data though, AT&T offers new overage options as well.
If the data amount is exceeded on the DataPlus plan, the customer will be billed an additional $15 for another 200 MB. The DataPro plan, however will charge only $10 for an additional one GB of data.
“I have a family plan with two kids, and all three of us were bumping against that max limit,” said Zav Dadabhoy, the dean of Student Life at CSU-Pueblo.
People who are frequent data users, may see their cell service bill increase by $5 per month due to the extra charge per one GB. As such, new customers and purchasers of the newest iPhone 4 may need to watch their data usage carefully.