AT&T Ditches Unlimited Data Plan, Tethering On The Way

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Hmm. Now why would AT&T miraculously offer new data plans less than a week before the purported announcement of the 4th generation iPhone? And why would said data plans kick into effect on June 7? Oh, I know, a new iPhone is coming!

Two new plans have just been announced by AT&T: DataPro and DataPlus. So long unlimited!

For $25/month, the DataPro plan gets you 2GB of data. Not enough, no? According to AT&T, “on average, 98% of our smartphone customers use less than 2GB per month.” Oh really? 1GB buckets of data can be purchased for an additional $10 in any given billing cycle, but they have to be used in that cycle.

I really don’t know anyone with a smartphone that doesn’t use the heck out of it, but for those that only need 200MB, the DataPlus plan is right for you at $15/month. Another AT&T stat reveals “on average, 65% of our customers use less than 200MB per month.” Who are these people? For an additional $15, you can purchase another bucket of 200MB per billing cycle.

Wait. I can get 1GB of data for $10 or 200MB for $15? Does not compute. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

Existing smartphone users can switch to one of the aforementioned plans without extending their contracts.

iPhone users will finally be able to tether their device once Apple releases OS 4, but we already knew that. DataPro customers (iPhone owner or not) can tether for an additional $20/month. But you have to ditch your unlimited plan. WTF?!

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 can keep that plan or switch to the new $25 per month plan with 2 GB of data.

Wait. Wait. Wait. Is the unlimited data plan for iPhone and iPad users going away? We’ll update once AT&T gets back to us.

Update: Straight from the horse’s mouth: “Existing customers are not required to switch to the new plans (but can choose to do so without a contract extension if they’d like). They are also not required to switch to the new plans if they renew their contract or switch to another smartphone.”

Update 2: Going a step further, I asked if existing customers would ever be forced to switch from their unlimited data plan. AT&T responded with the following: “Correct – that is not our plan. This announcement does not change existing customers’ plans. Existing customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can do so without extending their contract. Beyond that, I can’t speculate on future pricing plans.”

Update 3: Current AT&T subscribers who wish to upgrade to the next iPhone or any smartphone will be able to grandfather in their existing unlimited plan. If you decide to add a new line to your existing account then you’ll have to opt for one of the two new data plans. AT&T says that “upgrading a phone or extending a contract doesn’t trigger any change.”