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.