AT&T Says Mobile Share Data Plans Only For New Customers
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Customers looking to jump ship from their current mobile service provider to AT&T will soon have a limited number of options when it comes to selecting a data plan, according to media reports published Friday.
According to Reuters reporter Sinead Carew, the Dallas-based telecommunications giant has announced that smartphone users signing up for the company’s service for the first time will only be allowed to purchase Mobile Share plans.
Those plans “involve higher data fees, but allow subscribers to share data allowances among multiple devices,” Carew explained. The change will go into effect on October 25 and was made because these types of data-share plans are more popular than other subscription types, AT&T officials told the news agency.
Unlike customers from the company’s chief rival, Verizon Wireless, AT&T clients will be allowed to keep their current plans, even after upgrading to new devices, the Reuters reporter said. Both companies originally introduced shared-data service plans last year, and analysts said the switch-over should help the service provider hold onto customers in the wake of an increasingly-competitive American wireless market.
“The idea…is that customers subscribing to shared-data plans might be less inclined to switch to another carrier if their cellular service for several devices, including smartphones and tablet computers, is attached a single plan,” Carew explained. “Carriers also see the plans as a way to encourage subscribers to add more devices and increase how much they spend on cellphone service.”
Last month, AT&T purchased nearly $2 million worth of wireless spectrum from Verizon, which it plans to use to strengthen its 4G LTE coverage. The deal was initially announced seven months prior to its completion, and the transfer was officially approved by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on September 3.
As redOrbit.com’s own Peter Suciu reported, the acquisition included 39 spectrum licenses, located in the 700 MHz band, and covers 42 million people across 18 US states (Colorado, California, Idaho, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming). AT&T expects to have 4G LTE deployment substantially completed by next summer.
AT&T’s 4G LTE network currently covers more than 225 million people. The company, which is currently the second largest mobile service provider in the US, plans to reach nearly 270 million individuals by the end of 2013, with the goal to substantially complete the build utilizing the acquired spectrum by summer 2014, Suciu added.