AT&T Hits Unlimited Data Plans with $5 Increase

| News

Those unlimited data plans AT&T gave original iPhone owners are about to get more expensive. The carrier plans to raise the price for those plans US$5 a month starting in February 2016, bringing the price customers pay up to $35.

AT&T bumping up unlimited data plan fees by $5 a monthAT&T bumping up unlimited data plan fees by $5 a month

9to5 Mac first reported on AT&T's price increase plan, and The Verge backed them up with their own sources.

The unlimited data plan was part of the deal subscriber got when they bought the original iPhone seven years ago. AT&T dropped the plan in 2010 and started pushing subscribers into capped data plans.

AT&T couldn't kill the unlimited data offering because of contractual obligations with customers so instead it began offering incentives to move to capped plans. Adding tethering support, for example, is considered a new data contract and ends unlimited plans.

The company also throttled bandwidth for unlimited subscribers when they downloaded more data than capped subscribers. The threshold for throttling sits at 22GB in a month, but previously was much lower.

Considering iPhone owners who still have their unlimited data plan haven't seen a price increase in seven years, getting a $5 a month bump could be seen as a necessary move to deal with increased service expenses. Still, it feels a lot like AT&T looking for another way to push people into its capped data plans.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

Regardless of AT&T's motives, bumping up the monthly fee for unlimited data plans has to feel like a personal attack for everyone who has been holding on to theirs.

Popular TMO Stories


Hammond Cheeseborough

If they want to increase my bill $5 a month per line with my unlimited plan, out of the blue, then they should give me a way to leave without being charged up the wazoo.  I have them on one phone until the end of the year and on another for two.  I can understand if I was made aware of this prior to filling out a new contract.  I don’t understand how they’d have a right at this juncture to uprate me any time they please.  They shouldn’t be shocked when their customer service line experiences additional expenses by their crap handling of this situation.  I’m pretty sure it’s going to cost them more than $5 a month from me…


AT&T is just a greedy, horrible, company.  For the original iPhone to work with both voice and data concurrently, something I am sure Steve Jobs wanted to launch with, they had to pick a TDMA network in the U.S.A.  It would not have looked good for Apple to launch on a GSM network because they would have had to launch outside the United States. 

It’s only because Apple pushed the handset envelope we even have data plan wars like we do today.  The telecom (especially AT&T, with their death star logo) industry only cares about profits.  AT&T is the worst and will lie outright to customers, like the early adopters of the iPhone, in order to look cool like Apple and say they are going to give “unlimited data for life”  to us early adopters only to later screw us as if we are going to forget.

1.  Throttling bandwidth.  Unlimited means unlimited.  Throttling bandwidth goes against the spirit of the agreement and we should launch a class action suit.  It takes more processing time with the network to single out high bandwidth users by putting them onto a quality of service list that the network hardware has to check your phone against to see what data speed you should be permitted.  AT&T is not only violating the agreement but making the network slower for everyone.  As long as you have a channel, you have that channel, you are not robbing quality of service from another as the pipe can only flow so much through it at any given time and your use of that channel is already limited to specific time divisions that are equal to all until AT&T messes with you.

2.  A $5 increase in rates, first in 7 years.  Really, what does seven years have to do with anything (apparently AT&T does not think we understand time period, whether in context of TDMA or money).  Unlimited for life is unlimited.  That means regardless of technological changes (which everyone knew would happen).  Nothing has changed, in fact, we know that hardware prices tend to decrease as technology improves, the cost of service has gone down. search EDGAR for AT&T financials.  Are they hurting? 

So here is how you can fight back. 

1.  You can leave AT&T, but that is what they want….they want you to leave or change your plan with them.  Either way they make money as all the companies share hardware and sell back and forth to one another.  So AT&T is not really losing, at least not completely.

2.  You can start a class action suit.  I wouldn’t discourage this (normally I would because it is the attorneys that profit, not the class) for the simple fact that AT&T just doesn’t learn.  They were already slapped with the largest class action suit in FCC history for bogus charges.  This “time out” is another instance of time that AT&T just doesn’t understand.  Let’s slap them again.

3.  You know AT&T is not going to back down, so get your 16% worth of money.  Someone create a free app that does nothing but burn AT&T bandwidth while you are idle (sleeping, driving, etc).  Run Netflix or some other bandwidth consuming app while driving or sleeping.  Call AT&T every month while driving or bored and ask them to explain this 16% increase in data usage and ask the agent if he/she received a 16% increase in their salary.  Call frequently and keep them on the line as long as possible.  When we start TRULY using their “bandwidth” in multiple ways that truly hurts their profit margins, maybe they will wake up and remember us grandfather’s aren’t so passive and stupid.

IF we do nothing, then we are allowing these companies that have robbed us for years with bogus fees to continue to do so.  Did you pay for touchtone service?  How long did AT&T and others charge a premium for touchtone when they had moved all their switches to digital and it cost more to support the hardware to translate rotary into a digital signal?  100% profit for them, no added value for you other than you could “place a call faster”.  If we do nothing,  we are sending a message to these companies that they can continue to raise our rates without providing something new.  New infrastructure (LTE vs. 4G, etc) is not new.  That’s like saying we should have to pay more for electricity to use CFLs or LED lighting.  We bought bandwidth and data, if the technology to transport and the pipe size widens, that’s not our cost.  Unlimited means unlimited, and if we continue to allow companies like AT&T redefine the dictionary, we are in big trouble.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account