New and old AT&T iPhone plans compared, cost increases detailed

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
With AT&T increasing data costs while simultaneously cutting text messages from its iPhone 3G plans, individual iPhone users upgrading to the 3G model will find themselves paying between 12.5% and 25% more to maintain the same level of service while FamilyTalk plan subscribers will likely see their costs rise anywhere from 8% to 27%. Included are some charts observations to help explain why. [Updated 9:00 p.m. Eastern with clarification on FamilyTalk SMS options and pricing.]



Individual Plans



All of AT&T's individual iPhone 3G calling plans have risen $10 when compared to those offered alongside the original iPhone. That's because AT&T is now charging $30 for the bundled unlimited data plans rather than $20, as it expects subscribers to increase their internet usage and throughput as a result of the new iPhone's 3G chip, which downloads about twice as fast as the EDGE chip in the original iPhone.



At the same time, however, AT&T has obnoxiously reduced the number of standard SMS messages included with each plan from 200 to zero. To get those 200 text messages back, subscribers will have to pay $5.00 more per month. As such, we've factored that added fee, along with the additional $10 data charge into our chart (below). The chart compares the original iPhone plans offered by AT&T to the new iPhone 3G plans with the added costs required to maintain basic text message capabilities and unlimited data downloads. All iPhone monthly plans MUST include the $30 data plan.



(It should also be noted that AT&T also offers 1500 SMS messages a month for $15 -- a $5 increase when compared to the original iPhone 3G SMS plans -- and unlimited SMS messages for $20 per month.)



AT&T's original iPhone plans (top) compared AT&T's new iPhone 3G plans (bottom) | Copyright AppleInsider.com



Generally, iPhone 3G users subscribing to the entry-level plan with 450 minutes will find themselves paying 25% more for their monthly phone bill with 200 SMS messages, while users subscribing to the unlimited plan will be paying about 12.5% more.



FamilyTalk Plans



AT&T has essentially carried over the same changes to its FamilyTalk plans. The cost associated with each line on a FamilyTalk plan has risen $10. Similarly, FamilyTalk plans no longer bundle 200 SMS messages as standard. FamilyTalk plan subscribers who want text message capability can pay 20 cents per message or subscribed to an unlimited SMS family plan for $30 a month. Alternatively, individual SMS plans can be purchased for each line at the $5 for 200 messages, $15 for 1500 messages, or $20 for unlimited messages.



AT&T's official SMS plans for iPhone 3G | Copyright AT&T.



Information on FamilyTalk SMS options and the chart (below) were updated at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time following clarification on FamilyTalk SMS options from an AT&T source. AT&T's original press release on the matter appears to have been misleading. While AT&T believes most FamilyTalk subscribers will play it safe and subscribe to the $30 Unlimited plan that covers all lines, it will offer cheaper plans starting at $5 per line for 200 SMS messages as noted in the above paragraph.



For the purpose of our charts, which compare the original iPhone Family Plans to the iPhone 3G Family Plans, we've assumed subscribers will play it safe and adopt a 200 SMS plan ($5) for each line. As a result, two-line Family plan costs rise $30 across the board ($10 of data plus $5 of SMS for each line), which translates into a 27% increase for families on the 700 minute plan with two lines and unlimited SMS messages, scaling down to a 8% increase for those on the top-tier 6000 minute plan.



AT&T's original iPhone Family Plans (top) compared AT&T's new iPhone 3G Family Plans (bottom) | Copyright AppleInsider.com



(AT&T's pricing for the Family Unlimited plan is somewhat murky. AT&T prices the plan at $259 per month but it's unclear whether that price includes two lines or one. We're working to sort this out.)



In addition, AT&T is also mandating that all current subscribers pay an $18 upgrade fee for each iPhone account that is upgraded to an iPhone 3G account.



Readers should also be aware of miscellaneous usages charges, taxes and fees that are tacked on to wireless bills each month. For instance, these charges added nearly $20 in June to an individual AT&T account in New York that was subscribed to the $109/1350 minute iPhone plan.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 138
    ericblrericblr Posts: 172member
    This is precisely the reason why I will NOT be getting an iPhone just to deal with AT&Ts bullcrap! I am probably going to piss off people ion this board but I hope Apple suffers from this exclusive deal so they me able to learn from their mistake. They could really wipe the map with customers if they opened up their iphone to more carriers. AT&T will just continue to jack up their price and continue cutting service. I bet when you call for support you get some second rate agent 3000 miles away from home. Does Apple really want to associate with this?
  • Reply 2 of 138
    echosonicechosonic Posts: 452member
    I will not be upgrading my iPhone. I think the costs are ridiculous.



    For those of you making excuses for AT&T:



    If 3G was more expensive, and therefore required a higher fee, then the fee should be only in the monthy bill, it would not have to be leeched onto the text messaging service as well. This is asinine, and they will not get any more money from me. As soon as voice-over-IP is up and running on the iPhone, I will hack it and leave the Cellular carriers behind permanently.



    (yes, sooner or later, it will happen)
  • Reply 3 of 138
    alecralecr Posts: 33member
    I was excited to purchase the iPhone in a couple weeks until i read this. The original iPhone was a bit out of my comfortable price range. Now this...



    I'm not huge on texting and would never use 200 in a month but I am really upset they cut that out of the plan while raising the price.



    Not only that... looking at the ATT map my area doesn't even have 3G.
  • Reply 4 of 138
    stokessdstokessd Posts: 103member
    For the family plans, you are comparing the 2.5G plan with 200 SMS's to the new plan with unlimited SMS's. That's not really a fair comparison. I upgraded our 2 line family plan to 1400 SMS's and it added $20 per line.



    And don't tell me that email is better than SMS because without push email it's not better.



    Sheldon
  • Reply 5 of 138
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stokessd View Post


    For the family plans, you are comparing the 2.5G plan with 200 SMS's to the new plan with unlimited SMS's. That's not really a fair comparison. I upgraded out 2 line family plan to 1400 SMS's and it added $20 per line.



    And don't tell me that email is better because without push email it's not better.



    Sheldon



    According to the information released by AT&T today, the carrier is only offering family plan members two options for SMS with the iPhone 3G:



    1) Pay 20 cents per message



    or



    2) Pay $30 for unlimited.



    There is nothing in between.



    As such, there really is no alternative for the comparison and I think it's more than fair to compare it the way we did.



    Best,



    K
  • Reply 6 of 138
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    I was planning on purchasing an iPhone and a MBP. Apple just lost both sales because of AT&T.



    I have been a long time AT&T customer... Yet... I'm not eligible for an upgrade. What is my cost for the iPhone? $500.00 for the model I wanted to get, the 16G. Text messaging extra too?



    I hope you rot in hell AT&T executives.
  • Reply 7 of 138
    boazhboazh Posts: 4member
    After reading this... I'm really dissapointed! I have a 700 min family plan and I pay about $115 with tax... with 2 new 3G iPhones I'm looking at $165 a month plus the cost of at least $400 to upgrade both phones... for what 3G? GPS? I have WiFi at home at work and GPS in my car... I should have known better, ATT is the same, nothing changed! Now I just need to wait another year for my contract to expire... maybe by then we'll have more options.
  • Reply 8 of 138
    astromacastromac Posts: 12member
    wow. the no txt message thing is really obnoxious. I too was probably going to get an iPhone but am on the fence now because it's a HUGE increase in monthly cost from my current plan.
  • Reply 9 of 138
    polvadispolvadis Posts: 87member
    C'mon guys. This was to be expected. With a cash cow such as the iPhone AT&T can do whatever they like and the gadget addicted crowd will gladly pony up the cash to get one. Every one wants it and that was just much too obvious to the AT&T executives.



    Another piece of the puzzle, in my opinion, is that 3G will soon be the standard, although the switch comes light years behind their counterparts over seas. Someone's gotta pay up for all the billions of dollars lost in the current system, and billions invested in the new one. Change costs money, and guess who's gonna pay it.



    Would I like to get an iPhone? You bet. Am I switching from Verizon just to get one? No way.
  • Reply 10 of 138
    Some of you guys I'm sorry to say are a bunch of whiners. AT&T has had these same prices for every pda/smartphone for years now. I don't know why anybody expected anything different. AT&T hasn't raised the prices. If anything, they cut the original iPhone users a break by not classifying the device as a PDA/Smartphone last year; and having the price be $30 like every other one that they carry.



    If you go and compare the prices with Verizon (Sprint + T-Mobile dont count as they don't directly compete with them) the prices are virtually identical. I'm not here to argue the merits of the service being overpriced, or ridiculous, but just saying that no one should be surprised; or feel like they're getting "taken". People are also saying they removed text messages now. No they didn't--the original iPhone data plan was nothing but the $15 medianet plan available for every other lowly cellphone, with a $5 add-on for 200 text.
  • Reply 11 of 138
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boazh View Post


    After reading this... I'm really dissapointed! I have a 700 min family plan and I pay about $115 with tax... with 2 new 3G iPhones I'm looking at $165 a month plus the cost of at least $400 to upgrade both phones... for what 3G? GPS?



    Are you currently getting unlimited 3G or GPS with your $115 plan?
  • Reply 12 of 138
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    Does anyone know what the rates default to if we pass our existing iPhones to the kids? 2 2G phones and 2 3G phones. Do we all pay the increased data rate, or only the 3G versions?



    Thanks in advance!
  • Reply 13 of 138
    dbrittondbritton Posts: 3member
    I don't know abut the rest of you, but I get more "call failed" messages in a month than I ever got from VZW. Calls fail frequently. The only reason I left verizon was for the iPhone. I hate ATT, but love the device. Does anyone else experience this ?
  • Reply 14 of 138
    Is it me or are we actually better off with the iPhone deals with O2 in the UK?
  • Reply 15 of 138
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    You don't get charged for incoming text messages do you? If that's the case we just need an app/way to send messages and can forgo the $5 charge. I do agree with others that data being unlimited, yet being nickel and dimmed over text messages is ridiculous.
  • Reply 16 of 138
    georgehfgeorgehf Posts: 2member
    I currently have the 1,400 minute Family Talk plan with 2 non-iPhones at a cost of $89 p/m++.

    I was planning on upgrading one of the phones and expected to pay $30 more than I do now.



    From the looks of it, my same plan will now be $149.99, a $60 increase based on 2 phones. Do they assume that both phones will be iPhones with data and force you to spend that much? This seems absurd if only one of the lines is an iPhone. Maybe they're just trying to encourage me to buy one for my wife too.
  • Reply 17 of 138
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    Does anyone know what the rates default to if we pass our existing iPhones to the kids? 2 2G phones and 2 3G phones. Do we all pay the increased data rate, or only the 3G versions?



    Thanks in advance!



    This has to be the worse place to get advice!



    Whatever you hear here will be conjecture, i.e., an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.



    Calling AT&T won' get you any better information unless it is already posted.



    Best you visit the AT&T web site yourself. Seems that a lot of posters here can't read well. That or they never checked the facts first before they wrote some of the stuff they did.
  • Reply 18 of 138
    georgehfgeorgehf Posts: 2member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crees! View Post


    You don't get charged for incoming text messages do you?



    Are you sure about that? I thought that you got charged for both incoming and outgoing texts.
  • Reply 19 of 138
    macarmacar Posts: 5member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by toneloco28 View Post


    Some of you guys I'm sorry to say are a bunch of whiners. AT&T has had these same prices for every pda/smartphone for years now. I don't know why anybody expected anything different. AT&T hasn't raised the prices. If anything, they cut the original iPhone users a break by not classifying the device as a PDA/Smartphone last year; and having the price be $30 like every other one that they carry.



    If you go and compare the prices with Verizon (Sprint + T-Mobile dont count as they don't directly compete with them) the prices are virtually identical. I'm not here to argue the merits of the service being overpriced, or ridiculous, but just saying that no one should be surprised; or feel like they're getting "taken". People are also saying they removed text messages now. No they didn't--the original iPhone data plan was nothing but the $15 medianet plan available for every other lowly cellphone, with a $5 add-on for 200 text.





    Really weird reasoning...

    do you work for ATT? Now i know what/how ATT executives are thinking when they decide to change a plan... As long as all of their clients are suffering, it's fair...



    I mean, did it occur to you that maybe the other plans are also overpriced and those are the ones that need to be adjusted?

    As far as Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile goes, as long as there are people out there thinking like you and not willing to complain about it, they will never try to offer competitive and realistic pricing.
  • Reply 20 of 138
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by echosonic View Post


    I will not be upgrading my iPhone. I think the costs are ridiculous.



    For those of you making excuses for AT&T:



    If 3G was more expensive, and therefore required a higher fee, then the fee should be only in the monthy bill, it would not have to be leeched onto the text messaging service as well.



    Doesn't necessarily mean texting price has changed because of 3G. Texting itself may ne costing AT&T more.



    You guys are ultimately comparing the new iPhone price to the old. The old is cheaper than the average smartphone service. While the new cost is more in line with the average smartphone service.
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