AT&T Introduces New Data Plans: Users Limited, Content Screwed

AT&T has announced new data plans for all of its smartphones and the Apple iPad. The $15 DataPlus plan includes 200MB of data, while the $25 DataPro plan includes 2GB. Additional data for the latter plan will be metered at a cost of $10 per GB. Tethering is also available for a $20 fee and requires the DataPro plan. Customers that are currently enjoying the $29.99 unlimited data plan on the iPad will be able to keep that rate.

While AT&T claims that 98 percent of its customers use 2GB of data per month or less, this practice will clearly make the company a lot of money. Content is getting more complex — look at Wired’s excellent iPad magazine or Netflix, for example. Richer content demands more data. Pricing schemes like this discourage users from using data-heavy entertainment. It also makes content creators worry more about file size than making something cool.

It’s no secret that the iPhone has led to a ton of network congestion and performance issues for AT&T. It has also made the company a ton of money. While AT&T claims that it is aggressively improving its network infrastructure, it seems that it’s being more aggressive with milking its customers.


Author: RPadTV

44 thoughts on “AT&T Introduces New Data Plans: Users Limited, Content Screwed”

  1. Wow. Did they say when these take effect? I may just never use my upgrade again and work without a contract so I can keep my current rates. This would typically cost me $55/month for data

  2. @slicky

    yep. Buy unsubbed. Keep your buffet. I plan on it unless Tmo gets new Iphone.

  3. @Ray

    New ETF introduced yesterday, Skype TOS changed to consumer awesome and ATT stifles Internet growth….coincidence?

  4. @smartguy ETF was announced a few weeks ago and it has new iPhone written all over it. Skype is actually a work in progress — I don't think the company knows how it's going to approach things yet, but a monthly fee for 3G Skype calls (even Skype to Skype) is in the works for 2011.

  5. @Ray

    I meant went into effect yesterday. You think it gets a new carrier next week?

  6. @TheJediRevan Ha! I'll be writing about Sprint's "$10 solution" in my Evo wrap-up later today. The time are 'a changin'!

    @smartguy If you asked me two days ago, I would have said not until Q4. However, Jobs' comments at D8 were interesting.

  7. @Ray


    I think stuff like this will make OnLive doa. ISPs don't care.

  8. @rpad

    Wow! are you serious??? It's not even worth having then. great job in alienating your customers at&t.

  9. Tethering was hardly at a good price before. My wallet wouldn't be able to take all of this. I may have to go out and buy me the Firefly phone so I can limit all I do.

  10. @slicky

    nah, make them cancel your service by you using it.

    The tethering is such an asinine charge. If the cost was $30 for both combined and gave me 4gig I'd really consider it. There is no value in that deal as it stands right now. F'n $20, wow.

  11. @Ray

    No. AT&T charges me for a BB plan which unlimited data & texts for $30. Then to buy (legitimate) tethering its ANOTHER $30 and you are limited to 5Gb per month. Its basically the same plan as you get with one of the USB dongles. It used the Tethering package once a long time ago on my LG Cu500 and then I say my bill and found out most smartphones allow you to just tether so I dropped it. Its blocked on HTC phones on AT&T so you have to buy the Tethering.

  12. oops I was wrong on my prices. Its $60/month in addition to the $30 data/text.

  13. Originally when I bought tethering on my LG. AT&T gave me the USB cable and a CD that contained instructions for tethering and the program that you had to connect with.

  14. Well, ATT is now off the menu for me. I refuse to accept data limits. (or limits at all for that matter.) They are only doing this so they can sell more contracts with less bandwith per contract. The same crap ISPs do already.

  15. @sandrock

    Would you be against the cap if it were more realistic and allowed you to use your expensive device? For instance let's say they charge $25 for 4gig (just doubling the current)? That would be not so bad as what is currently on the table.

    I'll say it again…the tethering charge is bullshit. $20 extra to use a feature that comes standard on your device, and furthermore they make you use the same bucket of bytes (verizon term, get ready for their version soon) as your $25 fee. So that's $45 for less than what you got before. Granted you couldn't tether officially…but if you look at it it's a 50% markup for the same crap ass coverage as before.

    Their $15 plan is effectively charging you $61.80 per gig (15*4+(.12*15))

  16. @ Smartguy;

    You may have seen this before, but I thought you'd get a real kick out of this… Beware of Verizon Customer Service!

    Favorite quote: "They're both the same if you look at them paper-wise."


    I would love to hear what you would say to these retards.


  17. @Iceman


    I'd have been an ass and asked for a huge credit since I overpaid lol.

  18. @Iceman

    Holy crap. He stayed much calmer than I would have. I would have made them write it down step by step.

  19. @Iceman

    In a situation like that I am always curious as to how far up the chain of command a person could make it with a legitimate problem such as this…and how high up the chain of command you would have to go until someone understands simple math as a job skill requirement.

  20. honestly AT&Ts 3G sucks so much that I only do casual browsing and gaming over the network. the bulk of my heavy downloading happens over wi-fi while I'm at home or work. looking over my last year's worth of bills there was only 1 month where I almost topped 1GB. and I'm a heavy iPhone user. until 4G comes along I won't complain about the caps. I'll save $5 each month and on the rare occasion I go over it will be only 5 more than I'm used to.

    by the way… ATT sucks

  21. I got my cell phone bill today ($250)

    I used 2,017,928KB of Data Access and 31,230KB of Blackberry (i assume its BB messenger). That is a fraction of what I typically use but it still comes out to 1.92Gb. So I guess I would be okay (this time)

  22. ok so I have a question on the new ETFs for ATT. If I don't change anything on my account are they allowed to up my ETF for no reason? Or am I tied to the new fees if I choose to buy a new iPhone?

  23. @slicky – I'm sorry man I just noticed your payment amount. how many phones is that? I've got 5 iPhone's on a shared work plan and our bill is $320 each month

  24. @shockwave

    If you purchase the new iphone, you will be bound to the new ETFs. If you don't want to be bound by them you will have to buy it at the no commitment pricing.

  25. @shockwave

    its 3 phones. it isn't usually this much but one of the phones subscribed to and the other used Mobilefunsterinc & PlayPhone so I enabled Parental blocks on charges this morning. Thats funny because its my parents phones on my account. lol

  26. @shockwave

    As long as you can get the new device at no commitment pricing, you will avoid the ETF. What will be f'd up is if they require a service agreement eventhough you own the device outright.

  27. @Smartguy

    I have 500gb limit from my ISP and don't like it. The limit isn't there to surcharge you to death, it's there to basically cut down your data speed. If you think iPhones are unusable as phones now, wait until they add more people without adding more bandwidth. All they care about is keeping the network up, not how fast it is when you use it.

  28. @Sandrock

    Honestly at 500gb I wouldn't have an issue with that kind of threshold where once I pass it, then I'm gonna be billed an overage. If I use more than 500gb of bandwidth in a month then I'm pretty sure I'm congesting a node. Then again we can just as easily argue that it still is crap since they won't rollover my unused bandwidth I paid for or credit my bill for the unused bandwidth.

    I really think to make caps work a few things have to happen:

    1. All ISPs have to do it (easiest, and not consumer friendly but necessary)

    2. The unused bandwidth you do not use you sell back or retain like rollover minutes

    3. The cap has to be flexible as the online market grows. Flexible as in gets larger. Internet video is beginning to move and this is what they are most afraid of.

    honestly they won't do it eventhough it seems criminal to sell me an alottment (that is what the cap is) and not let me carry it over.

  29. Basically, instead of fixing the issues with their network, they are introducing this to justify not improving their network as much as they should.

  30. @Sandrock323 And make more money. Skype is going big on video chat this year. The iPhone HD will have a front-facing camera. If video calls are allowed over 3G, that could add up to a lot of data.

  31. @Smartguy
    The cap isn’t my problem with it, the problem I have is that they use it to justify not increasing your speed when they need to. ISPs don’t use the cap like that, but they try and use statistics, which are statistically wrong, to base how many people to split between x amount of bandwidth. By their math, you will get what they advertise, but people tend to do things at the same time and that always throws their math out the window. They don’t care though because it saves them money at your expense and not theirs. If they want me to be ok with it, then they need to give me the speed that I’m paying for, or at least close to it.

  32. I still don't understand why there's a separate charge for text messages when they use the same data. I REALLY don't understand the extra charge for incoming text messages from other countries. If AT&T is cool with rollover minutes, why isn't it cool with rollover data?!?

    I really didn't think I could like AT&T less than I already do, but the company continues to find new ways. Amazing.

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