AT&T Introduces New Data Plans, Throttles Legacy Users

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AT&T New Data Plans

Mobile giant AT&T today announced new data plans for smartphones and tablets, modifying and increasing in complexity plans that had been in effect since June 2010. In addition, the company has begun to severely limit legacy users of its unlimited data option, throttling the bandwidth of its “top 5%” data users to nearly useless speeds.

The new plans, which are set to go into effect this Sunday, January 22, are as follows:

For Smartphones

AT&T Data Plus 300MB: $20 for 300MB

AT&T Data Pro 3GB: $30 for 3GB

AT&T Data Pro 5GB: $50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

There is an additional fee of $10 per gigabyte for users who exceed their data limit on the 3GB and 5GB plans, and a fee of $20 per 300MB for users who exceed the 300MB plan.

In addition, all smartphone plans include unlimited access to AT&T Wi-Fi Hotspots.

 

For Tablets

Existing Entry-level Plan: $15 for 250MB

AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $30 for 3GB

AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $50 for 5GB

 

As with previous AT&T plan changes, users may keep their existing plans but all new smartphone and tablet contracts starting this Sunday must be linked to one of the above plans. 

Of note, there are a large number of iPhone users who, due to never changing their contract over the years, are grandfathered into AT&T’s previous $30 unlimited plan. It appears that AT&T has now begun to impose strict limits on that plan in an effort to force heavy data users to move to new, and more expensive, option. 

As demonstrated by AppAdvice Daily in the video above, this throttling effectively destroys the iPhone’s bandwidth, with “throttled” phones becoming practically useless for functions that require data access.

Comments

wab95

Impressive, but not surprising. It was just a matter of time.

BurmaYank

It’s going to be “interesting” to see how close this “Legacy User” will come to being in the throttled “top 5%” group (with my daily habit of consuming 3 to 5 hours of streaming internet audio over 3G). I’m sort of holding my breath about this.

I’ll keep TMO posted if I do get throttled.

anovelli

Curious what kind of data usage get’s you into that 5% tier?

geoduck

Don’t know personally but I’ve read on other sites users complaining that 2gb seems to be where the are drawing the line.

As with all hearsay, YMMV

Lee Dronick

I just checked our AT&T data usage. At a little past the midpoint of the month I used 112 MB, my wife used 200 MB, they should about double by the end of the month. Both of us are grandfathered under the unlimited data plan, so if we had to go on the 3 GB plan our monthly bill would not change.

Sidebar - The number texts we have sent through AT&T have gone down, but I think that is because of iMessage. I suppose that iMessage counts in with our data usage.

BurmaYank

If AT&T’s DataConnect charge is $30 for 3GB, and as a grandfathered unlimited “Legacy” user I also pay $30, shouldn’t I therefore reasonably expect to be able to use 3GB without getting “throttled”?

I used 2300.7 MB last month, and have used 347 MB in the 1st 5 days of the current billing cycle.

So I’m holding my breath, hoping at least 5% of us AT&T users use more.

Gene King

I have unlimited data with a 2010 vintage 3GS.
If I hold on until the iPhone 5 comes out late this year (I hope) what kind of bill will get when I upgrade?

Lee Dronick

I have unlimited data with a 2010 vintage 3GS.
If I hold on until the iPhone 5 comes out late this year (I hope) what kind of bill will get when I upgrade?

Only AT&T knows if they will continue to keep you, and I, on the unlimited plan. I wonder if there is some sort of implied, or even plied, contract with us legacy users that the unlimited data plan is for as long as we choose.

wab95

I wonder if there is some sort of implied, or even plied, contract with us legacy users that the unlimited data plan is for as long as we choose.

I, too, have the unlimited data plan. Perhaps so long as you fly below the radar, and stay out of the top user tier, you will yet be reprieved.

AT&T are unlikely to tolerate a loss on legacy users. So long as they continue to recruit new customers, the fraction of legacy users progressively diminishes, and they can make a net profit from the new users. My guess is, if the cost/benefit ratio becomes unfavourable for AT&T, out and out cancellation might cost them good will, so they might opt to ‘encourage’ migration away from the unlimited plan, as we see here with the top 5% of users.

webjprgm

AT&T is so greedy.  My brother-in-law just went off to college recently and picked up an AT&T phone, but returned it in a couple days because the only texting plan options are unlimited or pay-per-message.  Before I disabled texting (because paying more than a penny is a rip-off) I was using a $5 for 200 msgs plan, which I recommended to him, but that’s not available any more!

I can understand their issues with the unlimited plan, because “unlimited” is an unquantifiable liability on their network as at any time all those users could choose to download terabytes of data.  I can imagine how that could easily keep executives up at night. But they keep going after everyone else too, like eliminating the $15 data plan and the $5 texting plan.  All this with no improvements whatsoever for the consumer.

Could someone please make a consumer-friendly telephony company?

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