AT&T Joins Verizon With Mobile Share Data Plans
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
In the earliest days of the iPhone, the choice for would-be American buyers was simple. Users could choose one of three sizes of iPhone (with the one exception of the iPhone 3G) and sign up with AT&T. Then, in the winter of 2011, things got a little more complicated when Verizon entered the picture. Many had wondered if a mass of AT&T users, frustrated with endless dropped calls and crippled connectivity, would embark on a mass exodus to Verizon. (It turns out, the exodus wasn´t as “mass” as some had expected.)
Then, when the iPhone 4S launched in October 2011, users had yet another option when Sprint became the third official American carrier to offer the iPhone.
In the days since the iPhone release, the data plans amongst AT&T and Verizon have changed, creating the ever-present question: Which carrier is best for the iPhone?
AT&T has now given iPhone touters something else to think about as they launched shared data plans, similar to their Bid Red rival, Verizon. With these new plans, AT&T users can have one lump sum of data which they share amongst multiple devices.
Beginning on August 23, AT&T will roll out these Mobile Share Data plans, offering users anywhere from 1GB to 20GB of data per person or group. Looking for whatever they can get, AT&T will also charge an access fee on top of the cost of data. These plans will, on the other hand, include unlimited talk and text options, further signifying the shift many americans have taken to using data more than text and voice. Unlike Verizon´s Share Everything plans, AT&T won´t strong arm their customers into switching to these data plans when they decide to sign new contracts or upgrade their plans.
AT&T has also included a handy mobile data calculator to help customers decide how much data they need to share between their devices.
The most basic shared data plan of 1GB starts at $40 with a $45 monthly fee to connect each smartphone, and allows any device on the plan to pull from this one, shared bucket of data.
As the amount of data increases, the monthly smartphone fee decreases, so, a $70 4GB plan bumps the smartphone connect fee to $40. Likewise, a $90 6GB plan comes with a $35 per smartphone fee. At the highest end, a $120 10GB plan, $160 15Gb plan and a whopping $200 20GB plan come attached with a $30 smartphone fee.
Should you venture past your data limit, AT&T will charge you $15 per gig. Users can add netbooks, smartphones, tablets and USB cards to their Mobile Share plans. While smartphones cost anywhere from $30 to $45 per device to connect to the Mobile Share plans, netbooks and USB cards cost $20 per device.
As smartphones and tablets become increasingly popular, data plans have become more important to users than basic talk and text. As such, AT&T and Verizon´s move to these plans signify an effort to lock users into these data plans and ensure a certain amount of revenue from each customer.
Sprint has offered their Truly Unlimited plans even after they began offering the iPhone, saying they´d continue offering this plan even if the new iPhone adopts 4G LTE.