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:
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.
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.