Posts Tagged ‘tethering’

AT&T Now Dropping More Than Calls

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

While I am a fan, albeit a battered fan, of AT&T I couldn’t resist that title. That being said, I am not sure how I feel about AT&T’s latest announcement that unlimited data plans are history. When a post is titled AT&T Announces New Lower-Priced Wireless Data Plans to Make Mobile Internet More Affordable to More People, one has to wonder what the catch is. Turns out there are a couple.

There are two new data plans to replace the $30 iPhone/smart phone data plan. The first is a $15 DataPlus plan for up to 200MB of data, and the second is the DataPro plan at $25 for 2GB. If you go over your 200MB, you are simply charged the $15 again for an additional 200MB. If you go over the 2GB plan you get charged for a single GB extra at $10. This actually sounds pretty reasonable. That’s not the part that bugs me though. Before I get to that, there is another perk.

These new plans include unlimited access at no extra charge to AT&T’s 20,000 Wi-Fi hot spots. What’s interesting is that after that interesting bit of news, they follow it up with an extraneous bit of info – you get unlimited Wi-Fi at home. Duh. Of course I get unlimited Wi-Fi at home. I’m paying for it. To AT&T’s credit, they do explain it further down the post, though the duh factor remains. They then give you a handy link to learn more about AT&T Hot Spots. Now on to the part that bugs me.

While seemingly introducing a cool new feature, they really just found a way to make you spend more money. Tethering is officially supported now, at the rate of $20/month. $20/month for something I currently use for free on my Walkman phone, and something T-Mobile offers as part of the data plan. I can only use the Edge network currently, but my tethering capability has been extremely useful to me. I don’t think something so common should carry a $20 price tag.

Ultimately, these plans might save customers some money. Others will end up spending more. I am probably going to win and lose with these new plans, ending up about where I currently am in my data plans. Hopefully this is a good change, but a lot of people are asking questions right now. Incidentally, before you rush off to Verizon, there are rumored changes in the works there too.

AT&T’s new data plans launch on June 7. Current $30 unlimited plan users, including iPad users will be able to continue their unlimited access. I wonder if iPad sales will spike between now and June 6. If I were in the market for an iPad I certainly would buy it before June 7. The bottom line is, if you want unlimited data, get your ducks in a row before these new features launch.