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AT&T shared data plans launch late August, start at $45 per smartphone

post #1 of 165
Thread Starter 
AT&T on Wednesday announced its new shared data plans, ranging from 1 gigabyte to 20 gigabytes of cap space, and starting at $40 for 1 gigabyte of data plus an additional $45 per smartphone.

The cost per gigabyte and smartphone decreases as customers add more data to their plan, so 4 gigabytes of data has a base price of $70, plus $40 per smartphone, all the way up to $200 for 20 gigabytes of data per month and $30 per smartphone.

Cellular capable tablet-style devices like Apple's iPad are less expensive, and will cost $10 per month to add to a shared data plan. Laptops and mobile hotspot devices are another $20 each month, while basic and messaging phones can get shared data, unlimited talk and text for $30 each month.

The new shared data plans allow customers to choose open of AT&T's existing individual or family plans, and current customers are not required to switch to the new plans. Those who decide to switch to AT&T's shared data plans can do so without a contract extension, and the rates are also available for business customers.

Customers can choose up to 10 devices to attach to their shared plan, and at least one of those devices must be a smartphone. The plans include tethering and unlimited domestic calls and texts for smartphones.

AT&T


"We offer customers a broad choice and the best lineup of plans, now enhanced by Mobile Share," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. "With these new plans, the more you share, the more you save. They?ll be a good fit for a variety of new and existing customers. But if customers want to stay on their current plan or choose from our existing plans, they can do that, too. It?s their choice."

AT&T's press release states that the new mobile share plans "give customers more control over how, where and on what device they use data." Customers can choose to use more of their data bucket on their tablet, or tap into it only when needed for devices that might be used only occasionally.

"Today we think of people?s smartphones and tablets sharing a bucket of data. But in the future we?ll see health care monitors, connected cars, security systems and other devices in the home all connected to the mobile Internet," Christopher said. "Our Mobile Share plans are simple, easy and a great value for individuals or families with multiple mobile Internet devices."

Competing U.S. carrier Verizon launched its own shared data plans on June 28, called "Share Everything." With it, line access for smartphones like Apple's iPhone run $40 per month, while tablets like the iPad are $10 per month.
post #2 of 165

So let me see if I have this right.  It costs $30 a month now to get 3GB worth of data on one phone.  So if say my brother and I both have a plan, we spend $60 total for data.  Plus roughly $40 each for voice.  

 

Under this plan, I'm guessing we would still be spending roughly $40 a month for voice and then, to get the same amount of data we get now, it would cost us $160?  So that would be $100 premium to say that we share data? 

post #3 of 165

Where did you get the $160 from?

post #4 of 165

I agree. What's with the "each Smartphone" charge? They're charging you for the data, then there's a separate charge to have access to the data you've purchased? It should be just $10 per phone since, just like your voice minutes, the more devices on the plan, the quicker the data/minutes are used and the more likely you'll run into overages or need to upgrade your plan. Is this now the universal method of dealing with data, or is a shared data plan an option like family voice plans are options?

post #5 of 165

If the data is "shared", why does it matter how many devices use the data? Does it somehow cost AT&T more to serve 1GB of data to two devices instead of one?

post #6 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by commandercrash View Post

So let me see if I have this right.  It costs $30 a month now to get 3GB worth of data on one phone.  So if say my brother and I both have a plan, we spend $60 total for data.  Plus roughly $40 each for voice.  

 

Under this plan, I'm guessing we would still be spending roughly $40 a month for voice and then, to get the same amount of data we get now, it would cost us $160?  So that would be $100 premium to say that we share data? 


I was thinking that you get unlimited Talk and Text in addition to the data.  In your case I think it would be $160 for you to share unlimited Talk and Text and 6GB data.  Still, that would be $20 more than you are paying now, but presumably you would get more talking and texting.  If you are right, and it does not include the talk and text in the plan shared, then this is a total rip off.  The fact that you have to have the unlimited talk and text on at least one of the devices already makes it a poor deal unless you are already on an unlimited plan.  We would have to be crazy to think that AT&T will ever offer a good deal to its customers.

post #7 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by commandercrash View Post

So let me see if I have this right.  It costs $30 a month now to get 3GB worth of data on one phone.  So if say my brother and I both have a plan, we spend $60 total for data.  Plus roughly $40 each for voice.  

Under this plan, I'm guessing we would still be spending roughly $40 a month for voice and then, to get the same amount of data we get now, it would cost us $160?  So that would be $100 premium to say that we share data? 

The chart indicates unlimited talk and text. So actually for 6GB you pay a fixed $90 +$45 per smartphone. So your bill works out to $160 total still, but with the benefit of unlimited talking and texting + tethering too.
post #8 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandman999 View Post

If the data is "shared", why does it matter how many devices use the data? Does it somehow cost AT&T more to serve 1GB of data to two devices instead of one?


I totally agree.

post #9 of 165
I have 5 lines. 4 smartphones, and 1 dumb phone.

Knowing what I pay every month for all my phones and the separate data plans they currently have, none of these plans save me a dime. That's a damn shame AT&T. My average bill is $260 a month without taxes. And I'm curious what the cost is if you go over your data? :-/.

I've been waiting for this... But not like this. There is essentially still a premium and split out costs for having data on your phones. Grr.
post #10 of 165

This is like the water company charging you for the water, and also for each faucet that dispenses water.

post #11 of 165

I'm doing the same math and realizing that it's a much worse deal. Currently I pay $25 each for 2GB each (so $50 for 4 GB) but with this I can pay $85 to split 1GB or $110 to split 4? So it's more for less? Great plan, guys.

 

edit: I see the unlimited talk/text now. That kinda makes more sense as long at this it all the fees. Unlimited text is currently $30, so that's getting unlimited talk for about $30. If this could get my whole phone bill to $110 and have it be truely unlimited for 2 phones, then it's actually not a horrible deal.


Edited by Adam Bartlett - 7/18/12 at 5:44am
post #12 of 165
Bad deal for me. I run $68/mo for voice, 200 texts and 250MB data. An AT&T iPad would be $15/mo for 200MB, running me about $82 including tax for two devices. On a shared plan, that is $107, assuming I can still keep my $5/200 text plan. I would have to add six more tablets for the new price plan to benefit me.
post #13 of 165

This makes no sense... So I'm paying $70 per month for unlimited talk/text with 4gb of data.  But I have 2 phones (mine and my wife's).. so that's $40 per phone.  That puts me at $150 per month before taxes and fees.. and all the other BS that gets added to the phone.  In my quick glance that is more expensive, and give me less data... but more minutes.  I have 1400 minutes shared, and I never come close to using them. 

 

This is stupid..

 

A cell phone with unlimited data, text, and talk shouldn't cost more than 50 bucks a month.

post #14 of 165

Just like Verizon's Share Everything plans, these new AT&T offerings just raise the barrier of entry even further for one person to have a smartphone. AT&T's lowest monthly charge for a single person will now be $85 (+ taxes and fees, really about $95), while Verizon stands at $100 (+ taxes is $110). That's outrageous. Plans started at $60 when the iPhone launched in 2007.

 

That said, some of you guys are not factoring in what you currently pay for voice and text when doing your comparisons. You have to compare the TOTAL price (voice, text, and data) that you pay right now vs. the cost of these new plans.

post #15 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by commandercrash View Post

So let me see if I have this right.  It costs $30 a month now to get 3GB worth of data on one phone.  So if say my brother and I both have a plan, we spend $60 total for data.  Plus roughly $40 each for voice.  

 

Under this plan, I'm guessing we would still be spending roughly $40 a month for voice and then, to get the same amount of data we get now, it would cost us $160?  So that would be $100 premium to say that we share data? 

 

You're doing some kind of math wrong here somewhere.

 

Your current plan: ($30 data + $40 voice) * 2 = $140. You also do not have SMS or tethering included. ($20 for tethering - maybe you use SMS and maybe not, so that's variable but the unlimited SMS plan is $20). If (IF) you include SMS and tethering your plans would be $220. If you just include tethering it would be $180.

 

New AT&T shared plan: $90 for 6GB shared and unlimited voice, including tethering and unlimited SMS. $35 each for 2 phones = $70. Total of $160.

 

So, yes, if you do not use tethering or SMS whatsoever and have only two phones, you would pay more.  However, I would say most people use SMS on at the very least an infrequent basis, and many use it quite a bit, and tethering-inclusive plans are something a lot of people have been asking for.  And a lot of people have more than two people in their family, and once you go past two phones on the plan, the price per phone really starts to drop, again especially if you're including SMS and tethering and not only data and voice.

 

In addition, including an iPad on the plan for only $10 instead of paying $15 for only 250MB or at least $30 (or more) for a reasonable amount of bandwidth just for the iPad is very attractive.

post #16 of 165
Any word on tethering?

Also, this deal would save me money ($10/mo assuming I can still tether), but I'm loathe to change anything with my plans because I currently get annual phone upgrades and don't want to risk changing that.
post #17 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by siromega View Post

Any word on tethering?
Also, this deal would save me money ($10/mo assuming I can still tether), but I'm loathe to change anything with my plans because I currently get annual phone upgrades and don't want to risk changing that.


Fourth paragraph. "The plans include tethering and unlimited domestic calls and texts for smartphones."

post #18 of 165

Any word on how much the overage is per GB?

post #19 of 165

It sounds unreasonable to pay about a value of a new smartphone for a few months access to mobile internet. The iPhone prices tend to be higher here in Europe than in US but at least I get unlimited cellular data for around $15 a month, no matter how many devices I share it with.

post #20 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacVertigo View Post

 

This is stupid...

 

A cell phone with unlimited data, text, and talk shouldn't cost more than 50 bucks a month.

 

Now you're speaking my language!

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post #21 of 165
I won't be changing my pla. Any Imelda soon. Currently I'm paying for mi iPhone with unlimited data, my son's iPhone with unlimitedd data, my daughter's iPhone with 2 gigs and my youngest son's iPhone with 200 mb (a total freakin' joke of a plan) and my bill is about $250 amontn. My oldest son, who's getting throttled almost every month since they started that b.s., has sucked up as much as 9 gigs of data a month (I don't know what he's doing with that phone)' my ther two children bump their limits all th time, even though both their mother and I both offer wi-fi.

Just a rough run of the numbers, it doesn't look like any of the shared data plans make any fiscal sense for me to change. The most I'm paying for one of their lines is $40 a month. &9,99 for the line and $30 for the data.

I've been with AT&T for about 15 years and they keep doing stupid shit like this. They rarely get better and this new change is no incentive to chagne plans at all this company is ruined by middle management assholes. Thank goodness for the grandfathered, I'm sure they're looking for some way to jack that up.
post #22 of 165
I'm finding this plan confusing. I assume that the additional $40 per device also includes voice plans. I'm glad to see that you can share data to a tablet with only a $10 fee as I was expecting that to not be an option at all for the iPad.

And what's with the asterisk after Smartphones?

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post #23 of 165

No way AT&T gets me to move.  I have old plans and this doesn't get close.  I have two iPhones on my plan, and it is a shared line plan.  So I pay $50 for voice +$10 for the second line.  We have never come close to using our 850 minutes, I have 3K+ rollover minutes at any given time (told you, OLD plan).  Then I've got unlimited data on both phones for another $60 and we each pay $5 a month for 200 texts so another $10 right there.  With the new SMS messaging, we never even get close to that number either. 

 

So we pay ($50+$10)+($30+$30)+($5+$5)= $130


I would need the 4GB plan to share, and that would start at $150 for two phones.  To this date I have not needed to increase my data, voice, or texts.  If I ever did, then perhaps it would be worth it to switch.  For now I'll stick with that heartburn (for AT&T) inducing unlimited plan until they give me a TRUE incentive to get off of it.  This falls short. 


In reality though, even matching what I currently pay wouldn't be enough to convince me to give up unlimited data.  They would have to save me more than $20 a month to get me to give that up. 
 

post #24 of 165

So two iPhones with 6GB = $160 ($35 + $35 + $90), which I had said before.  I didn't really go into talk/text, but when I read it, I interpreted it as $30 a month PER device for unlimited talk and texting.  So that is then another $60.  Total is now $210.  

 

I don't see anything on tethering, but that could make it more worthwhile.  Although I still don't understand why you have to pay a premium for tethering.  The data is still coming out of a cap and it's streamed through the device itself so they can throttle it if they want.  And while $30 seems like a great price for unlimited talk and text, I wonder who that actually benefits, I have the base 450 minute plan now and continue to have more rollover minutes than I know what to do with.  

 

The lack of competition in the industry is pathetic.  I imagine I'll shop around carriers when the iPhone 5 comes out.  I'm not saying Verizon or Spring are any better, but I've been with AT&T since the original iPhone and it may be time for a change.  

post #25 of 165

Yep these plans are a rip off,

 

Today, we have 3 phones on our plan pay $50 for one phone with voice and $10 or the other 2 so that is $70 just for voice, have unlimited data on one for $30 and unlimited family text $30 and data on the second phone at $20 so the total for me is $150.

 

Under AT&T new plan I would be paying $70 for voice and $40 for 1GB and text which is less than what I have today, plus $45 x 2 = $90 so the grant total would be $200 a month for less than I have today. So explain to me how this is any value to me.

 

This would be cheaper than each Smart phone having their own plan, but more costly than having a family plan today


Edited by Maestro64 - 7/18/12 at 6:19am
post #26 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by siromega View Post

Any word on tethering?
Also, this deal would save me money ($10/mo assuming I can still tether), but I'm loathe to change anything with my plans because I currently get annual phone upgrades and don't want to risk changing that.

You may as well dive in. AT&T discontinued annual upgrades for primary line account holders beginning earlier this year. I used to get them, too. Now, I can't upgrade until 20 months, just like everyone else. 

post #27 of 165

Man, these guys just make me love my Virgin Mobile plan more and more. I'm still grandfathered in to their old plan, so I have unlimited data and 300 minutes of talk on my (kinda crappy Android) smartphone for $25 a month, and no complaints about tethering data. If only I had $600 to drop on an iPhone with them, I would be happier than a pig in slop.

post #28 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacVertigo View Post

A cell phone with unlimited data, text, and talk shouldn't cost more than 50 bucks a month.

It doesn't - if you switch to Straight Talk. Since they use AT&T's network, you're not giving anything up, but you get unlimited text and talk and data for $45 per month ($35 for dumb phones, IIRC).

I've been happy with the service since I switched. There are only two problems that may interfere:

1. I had to jailbreak my phone to get MMS working. There are third party services that allow texting and data to work without jail breaking, but none of them enabled MMS.

2. Even after jail breaking, there's one oddity. You can't send or receive an MMS message if WiFi is enabled (even if you're not near a WiFi network). You have to turn WiFi off to receive MMS. I asked Straight Talk about that and they said there's no way around it - and implied that everyone else works the same way (which is not true).

If you can live with those limitations, the savings can be substantial. I saved at least 40% off my bill - AND got a better plan (previously, both phone calls and data were limited).
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post #29 of 165

Mobile access to the internet should become a right and not a paid privilege. Sure, someone has to pay for it, but not at these fees!!

 

Imagine if Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook got together to build free WiFi networks across major cities around the world.  With Skype or some other VoIP service, we will no longer have to pay exorbitant fees to carriers for voice, text or anything else.  I know Google tried this before and gave up.  But the landscape is different now, as smartphones are true computers. 

 

Cities can share some of the annual network support costs.  All of these companies have something to gain by doing this.  In fact, I bet the ROI is well worth it.  For sure, the disruptive impact on the mobile industry would be permanent.
 

Heck, if I were Tim Cook or Larry Page, I would go it alone in SF or NYC just because I could, and just to show how disruptive this can be.  Does anyone know what happened to the WiFi network that Google was building in SF?

post #30 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandman999 View Post

This is like the water company charging you for the water, and also for each faucet that dispenses water.

It's more like when cable companies use to charge per TV, even though you didn't need extra hardware.

post #31 of 165

Not that I'm surprised ATT is playing it out this way, but there is just no reason to make a switch to shared data at these rates.  I have 2 iPhones that are still on the grandfathered "unlimited" plan and one iPhone on a $30 3gb plan, plus one dumb phone.  We pay for the unlimited text, which gives us unlimited mobile to mobile calls and have 1400 shared minutes which I can probably reduce down to 700 given so many calls are "free" mobile to mobile.  But as it is, we pay $30 + $30 + $30 + $10 + $10 + $10 + $80 + $30 = $230.  We never come close to using 5gb of data per "unlimited" plan, it's more like 3gb, so to be safe, we'd choose the $120 10gb plan, then add in the other charges of 3 phones at $30 (smartphones) plus another $30 for a basic phone and the total is $240.00, $10 more than we're paying now.  The only way we could save a little is to go down to 6gb of data, but then the per iPhone charge is increased by $5 each, so we'd pay $90 + $105 + $30 = $225.  That's a whopping $5 savings per month which would be eaten up by data overages which I expect will be ridiculously priced.

 

All they are doing here is upping the data cost by making us pay for something worth almost nothing (unlimited talk and text) given talk usage has been decreasing precipitously each year.

 

None of us are currently looking for or needing an upgrade, so I hope they don't force discontinuation of the grandfathered unlimited data plan.  I get that things will change once an LTE iPhone comes to market, but right now I am not looking to pay more for effectively less from ATT and my guess is that others will feel the same.  Verizon and Sprint better not follow suit with similar plans, but I am guessing that they will.  There will be no better options for us consumers.  We're not much different than an addict who needs their drugs - and we'll keep paying whatever we're told we need to pay.

post #32 of 165

SAVE $10/month !!! Plus $130 up front...

 

If you can tether, just get a WIFI iPad and tether it to your phone for free.....
 

post #33 of 165

This is one of those "you gotta do the math" things. In general it seems that the fewer devices you have, and the less you use them, the less attractive the bundle is—and the reverse.

 

As one example, I have a 3G iPad, but I've never activated its data plan (except with a local SIM when traveling in Europe) because to me that's not worth the money for the occasional convenience it would give. My wife, on the other hand, is paying $25/month for hers because she needs it for business use. We also both have iPhones, plus there are three other people on our "family plan" sharing from the same big bucket of voice minutes. We pay extra for unlimited texts, but didn't get tethering.

 

I'll have to put together a spreadsheet to figure it out for sure, but I suspect that the combined data bucket and the included texting, plus the added convenience of being able to tether our laptops, may make it attractive as a bundle. 

 

But every person's/group's situation is going to be different.

post #34 of 165

I'm no fan of these new plans, but what are you guys doing?  I don't know how you're coming up with some of these numbers.  Unlimited talk and text appears to be part of the mobile share plan, not an additional charge.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by commandercrash View Post

So two iPhones with 6GB = $160 ($35 + $35 + $90), which I had said before.  I didn't really go into talk/text, but when I read it, I interpreted it as $30 a month PER device for unlimited talk and texting.  So that is then another $60.  Total is now $210.

 

For 2 iPhones with unlimited voice, unlimited text, and 6 GB shared data:  $90 + ( $35 * 2 )  =  $160 total.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Under AT&T new plan I would be paying $70 for voice and $40 for 1GB and text which is less than what I have today, plus $45 x 2 = $90 so the grant total would be $200 a month.

 

For 2 iPhones with unlimited voice, unlimited text, and 1 GB shared data:  $40 + ( $45 * 2 )  =  $130 total.

post #35 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post

Mobile access to the internet should become a right and not a paid privilege. Sure, someone has to pay for it, but not at these fees!!

 

Gee, no sense of unearned entitlement there...

post #36 of 165

As usual, a total rip-off.

 

Why we don't have an uprising against these ridiculous "data plans" is beyond me.

 

Guess what AT&T?  1GB of data on my iPad looks the same to your network as 1GB of data on my iPhone!  Having a discrepancy in the pricing of data between the two should be illegal!  If only you could be fined billions to compensate those that you are overcharging.

 

Telecom on this continent sucks.

post #37 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomSeed View Post

My oldest son, who's getting throttled almost every month since they started that b.s., has sucked up as much as 9 gigs of data a month.

 

I think you're putting the BS hat on the wrong head. Your son has never heard of WiFi? Carriers are throttling precisely because people like that are sucking up limited cellular capacity.

 

I'd make you a bet that if he paid his own cellular data bill he'd be using a whole bunch less.

post #38 of 165

I really don't understand why there is a cost for sharing the data with another device. It would be like if Con Ed charged you $20 a month for your electricity for x number of units if you only use a lamp. But if you use 2 lamps half as much, you pay $20 still, plus $10 for the extra lamp.

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post #39 of 165

I find their new plans ridiculous.  Sharing data should mean a cost savings for people with multiple devices.  Clearly ATT wanted this to be revenue neutral worst case and revenue generating best case.

post #40 of 165

Once again the carriers come up with new barriers to innovation and progress. It's time the FCC review their spectrum licenses and revoke them since they are not serving the public good, but hindering it.

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