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How does AT&T fix their congested 3G network overnight? By enforcing data caps on its users of course. Starting June 7th, 2010 AT&T will roll out its new data plans for smartphones rendering the current unlimited data plans obsolete. How will this affect you?

As the U.S. smartphone leader, AT&T has introduced new more affordable data plans so that more people can experience the benefits of the mobile Internet. We’re making it possible to break free from the traditional “one-size-fits-all” pricing model and letting customers choose the data plan that best meets their needs and budget.

What a bunch of crap! AT&T is smartly turning a cap which translates to less bandwidth for more money into something positive for the customer. Good job marketing department! As AT&T is getting rid of the $30 dollar unlimited data plan, two new plans are being introduced. The first one is aimed at casual internet users, the DataPlus plan which gets you 200MB for $15 dollars a month. This will get you through your emails and casual browsing. The other plan is the DataPro, which allows 2GB of data for $25 dollars a month and for another $20 dollars there is a tethering option. Just remember that you still have to stay within your allowed 2GB of data which might not work for heavy users. If you go over your allowed usage, overage charges kick. For example, if you went over your DataPlus allowance, $15 dollars would the tacked on along with another 200MB of allowed usage.

AT&T activity chart Clearly the plan changes are really going to affect heavy internet users like video users or those who tether their connections. Whether this is a good depends on which side of the table your on. While its bad news for heavy users its not necessarily so for those who consume less than 100MB a month.

Now Joe Six-Pack will only have to pay $15 dollars instead of $30 on the data plan for his wife who wanted a shiny new iPhone that she uses to check weather and emails on occasion. Sure its not unlimited data but it doesn’t matter since occasional use brings the data usage tally to less than 50MB a month. That’s $180 dollars a year savings that he can use to buy more beer.

The tethering option is almost a joke since it relies on the 2GB of allowed data which you share with the phone and tethered connection. But we have to remember, its all about business. Profits have to come from somewhere.

About the New Plans

DataPlus – 200 MB of data for $15 per month

  • Designed for people who primarily surf the Web, send email, and use social networking apps.
  • On average, 65% of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB per month
  • If you use more than 200 MB, you’ll receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15, replenished as often as necessary during the billing cycle.

DataPro – 2 GB of data for $25 per month

  • Designed for people who regularly download or stream music and video, or use other high bandwidth applications
  • 98% of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB in a month on average
  • If you exceed 2 GB, you’ll get an additional 1 GB of data for only $10. Each time an additional 1 GB is used up during a cycle, you will automatically receive another 1 GB at the same low price.

Current smartphone customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension.

Unlimited Wi-Fi included in all plans
Virtually all AT&T smartphones come with Wi-Fi technology embedded inside. Wi-Fi generally provides consistently fast speeds and can be used in the home, at the office, or elsewhere when available without counting against your monthly data usage total. We also offer unlimited usage at more than 20,000 AT&T Hot Spots at no additional charge to smartphone, netbook and laptop customers with qualifying data plans.

Learn more about Wi-Fi at

Tethering Options
Smartphone customers who choose the DataPro plan can add tethering for an additional $20 per month. With tethering, you can use your smartphone as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks, or other computing devices.

So, with the new wireless data plans, pricing for a smartphone voice and data bundle now starts at $54.99 per month for an individual plan, or $24.99 per month for an additional line on a FamilyTalk plan. That’s $15 per month less than the price of the previous entry level bundle.

Ipad Customers

  • For new iPad customers, the $25 per month 2 GB plan will replace the existing $29.99 unlimited plan. iPad customers will continue to pre-pay for their wireless data plan and no contract is required. Existing iPad customers who have the $29.99 per month unlimited plan are not required to change their plans.

Customer Text Notifications On Data Usage. We want to help you know how much data you’re using to avoid any surprises. So to keep you up to date we will send text notifications – after you reach 65 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent of the threshold. We’ll also send you email alerts if we have your email address.

We looked at a ton of different options to arrive at a system that was flexible, fair and predictable for the largest number of people and what we’ve heard again and again (especially from you guys on Facebook) was that people wanted lower prices. They also wanted more choice and more control over what they spend on wireless data. We think these plans offer the most flexibility and great value. We’re also really excited about making smart phones more affordable so that a larger number of people can enjoy the benefits of the mobile internet. Another thing that we found when we were researching this is that everyone we talked to thought they were using more data than they actually were. So to figure out how much data you actually use and how what plan makes sense for you, here are a couple of ways that you can check your data use:

Just Call *DATA# from your wireless phone. (It’s an actual call btw…not a text) and we’ll send you a free text with how much data you’ve used. Please note that you will see your usage generally within 15 hours or less of actual data usage.

What if I am a current subscriber?

Current smartphone customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension.

Current users will be “grandfathered” in going forward. So if you want an unlimited data plan better mozy on along to your nearest AT&T retailer or order online before June 7th as the new data plans will only affect new activations after that date.

Surely they are feeling the impact on the network with the iPads and they had to do something in terms of network congestion, especially with the release of the new iPhone next week.  We will have to wait and see what impact if any this has on the mobile carrier industry. Surely AT&T knows that they will lose some of their highest usage customers  as they turn to other carriers that offer unlimited data plans to satisfy their appetite for bandwidth. My advice, sign up before June 7th and get yourself a $15 dollar unlimited data plan for as long as you can before they wipe that out too.

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