In an effort to avoid getting flamed further about my writing and controversial image selections, I’ll run a semi-copypasta yawn piece with actual “information” in it. Okay so AT&T fired out a long press release on how they intend to take your money differently, too many asterisks for my taste but Engadget did a decent job of translating it. However since you’re here now, let me take a swing at it and break it down for you. Starting with you iphone owners, you’ll be able to tether once the 4.0 upgrade hits on the a $45 plan for a whopping two gigs.

Effective June 7th (all of this except iphone tethering), instead of the existing $30 pseudo-unlimited smartphone data plan you’ll have the option for $15/month for 200MB and $25/month for two gigs. If you’re like me and don’t like the sound of either, you may stick with your $30 plan until AT&T tells you otherwise. I think this is not an attempt to appease customers but to flirt with a tiered pricing model and maybe more aggressively to enforce that 5GB “soft” cap you already have and as a possible fringe benefit to take a little heat off their infrastructure, maybe in anticipation of the new iphone, a new Google phone and more and more ipad sales. Makes me nervous; I’m an all you can eat guy when it comes to bandwidth. If you go with the $15 plan and break through 200mB, that will cost you another $15 each time you break through a multiple of two hundred. I should figure this out but I think that means if you burn through 230MB you’ll be looking at a $30 bill. On the $25 plan which gets you two gigs, that will be another ten bucks per gig. If you break through five gigs on the DataConnect plan, bam, say hello to another fifty bucks. Goodbye rather. You’ll be able to hop between plans at your leisure, additional money getting prorated.

If you want to tether without flying under the radar, and you can start to expect doing that unscathed to be less easy once this all kicks in, you’ll have to go with the DataPro plan ($25/2GB) plus another twenty bucks, or forty five bucks a month for two gigs cumulatively between your computer and phone, $75 for 5GB which is $15 more than tethering officially on the existing DataConnect plan when doing it out of the closet. So adding tethering ain’t going to be so cheap and we all know how easy it is to eat up five gigs downloading various forms of entertainment over various protocols involving your peers. They price iphone, $45/month for the first two gigs, but note that you won’t be able to do it until the iphone OS 4 gets released, slated for this summer.  For you ipad owners, you may either stick with your existing plan indefinitely, drop down five bucks (and three megs) to the $25/2GB. No mention of ipad tethering. But speaking of ipads, if for whatever reason you own one but want to use it on a different carrier, here you go.

Doug Simmons

18 COMMENTS

  1. Oh that’s easy. Instead of laying on translucent AT&T logos onto Steve Jobs’s eyes, they’d be on a pair of breasts.

    hmm..

  2. So it looks like At&t are going for the nickel and dime model of screwing people out of hard cash now. I suppose I’ll be hanging onto my 30$ plan for as long as possible, which means no more cheap upgrades. At this point I’d ponder switching over to another carrier but this is actually a smart move that will probably make at&t a lot of money AND put enough pressure on other carriers to adopt the same model as most customers fall under that 2gb cap. Damn my high bandwidth usage and geolocality in the land of shitty interwebs.

  3. I call BS on it… it’s just a way for them to make more money, they make it sound like they’re helping us but they’re not, when have they even been known to do anything for the customer.. not just this carrier, most any carrier is like that.. In the PR there’s really no mention as to what’s going to happen to the current $30 unlimited data plan, where’s it going? are they going to force me later to drop it? Someone like me who reviews many phones on the AT&T network uses a lot of data and is going to be screwed.. prime example I had to pause writing this because Fedex just dropped off the new Pantech Pursuit for review.. this is ridiculous, these money grubbing companies need to stop shafting their customers.. we know of course that this change is to be blamed on Apple. They got the iPad and iPhone and they of course never realized just how much data was going to be used on their network, so now we’re all getting punished for Apple users and what they’re doing to the AT&T network.. seriously AT&T should just stop selling any other products and just become Apples b*tch, not that they aren’t already.. maybe Apple should just buy them and they would have total exclusivity, and we can find another company altogether for our cellphone needs..

  4. I can’t resist anymore, okay Doug, what would your image have been if you didn’t use a “semi-copypasta yawn piece”? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

    I will say the shock and horror value of Steve Jobs in life size staring back at me when I opened this article was pretty distrubing in it’s own right.

  5. Well you were closer than you think because you did get the logo on a “Boob”!

  6. Well yeah there’s a little pent up aggression there, like particularly why are they so far behind other companies when it comes to good phones.. one Android phone that’s running version1.5, with a supposed upgrade date of Q4-2010.. The reason I think we don’t get any decent phones is because they’ve got so much invested in Apple… That picture of Steve up there with death star eyes is perfect really for the situation, AT&T is Apple’s little bitch plain and simple, and it’s sickening especially for those of us that don’t drink the Apple flavored Kool Aid

  7. I am seriously ready to move away from AT&T because of the very reason you state Kristofer. I could always count on AT&T to have the latest and greatest device out. Now, they are so lodged up Apple’s rear end it’s ridicules.

  8. yes she does, and Doug has OUTSTANDING taste in the selection, but I think we need to get back on topic here….

  9. For those of you just joining us and having read the comments are perplexed about this Salma Hayek business, egged on slightly by Doug Smith I shopped up a shop job that turned out to be a little too sexy for MD. But for posterity, freedom of information and because it really tied the article together, I stashed the picture in question and a screenshot of the article with Salma intact on my server.

    If I could think of anyone who actually might have been offended by it somehow, I’d apologize.

    Back to what I was getting at in my last comment, it’s time to tackle wimax and I’ll cook that up soon.

  10. Dunno. It almost sort of makes some sense to me. I barely hit 1GB one month, but usually wander around 300-500MB on average. So I guess I would be paying $5 less, with very little chance of ever paying more. On the other hand, people using excessive amounts of data (sorry Kristofer) will be paying more than $30, as will iPhone users. You didn’t really think the $30 Unlimited (err…I mean 5GB) plan would last forever. And the $15 “starting price” will encourage more people to purchase Smartphones, which is a good marketing strategy. 200MB will go a long way for newbies.

    A little bothered by the whole tethering thing though. If you pay for 2GB, you should be able to use it in any way you want. All in one day, SIM plugged into 6 different phones, tethered, whatever. Personally, I only tether in emergencies, like when my DSL goes down and I have to login to Verizon’s site (they don’t have a phone number – go figure), but I do want to make sure I can still do that without having to pay a monthly fee.

    My guess is you will be forced into a new plan when your current contract expires.

  11. i think i can shed some light on whats happening to people 30$ data plans… i might have seen an internal memo… the 30$ a month data plan will be grandfathered through for any existing customers that have it… just like every other plan change that ATT has made. and even though doug (simmons) may be right that they do have the right to yank it on you whenever they want, they wont, because they havent yet, and they would probably spend alot on lawyer fees for all the suits customers would be attempting to slap ATT with(even though they are wasting there time and ATT’s money because if anyone actually bothered to read the fine print they would realize ATT (and all other carriers) reserve the right to change plans at anytime (even if your in contract… they just cant charge an ETF in that case) and as far as people being pissed about this or ATT “raking in” more money, chill man, 98% of current ATT customers use less than 2 GB of data on average… that means AT&T is actually taking a loss compared to what they get now. they just hope to make the loss up in added subscribers because people can finally have a smartphone for less than 70$ a month, and can you really blame them? with the network bandwith being as clogged up as it is… ATT shedding those super users like brozio will ease up the congestion and allow ATT get some positive reveiws about there network so that they can hopefully add more customers, get more money, and fix there network so that they will be able to offer unlimited data plans again… and hopefully get some LTE up and running cuz i refuse to go to verizon and t-mo wont cover my state…

  12. As per AP in today’s paper, “Current subscribers will be able to keep their $30-per-month unlimited plans, even if they renew their contracts.” The new plans take effect, Monday 6/7/10. 98% of current users consume less than 2GB per month ($25 plan) and 65% of users consume less than 200MB per month ($15 plan). That could get someone into a Smartphone for $55/month + taxes (of course).

    Now what AT&T needs to do is include something like SPB Wireless Monitor (best bet) or Efficasoft GPRS Traffic Monitor with the purchase of a Smartphone so users can get an idea of how much data they are downloading. Both of these products are only available for the Windows platform today (that’s a twist) but I bet the developers can change that limitation pretty quickly, especially now that “unlimited” may become a word for the history books.

  13. jimski, if you enter *data# into your phone it will tell you your month to date data usage (accurate within 48 hours or so) sign me up to save 60$ a year

  14. Yes it will. But will it tell you how much data you download after listening to an hour of Internet radio (its a lot). Or how much data you average in a day’s worth of email syncs, weather updates or RSS feed downloads. And lets not forget visits to Marketplace (almost 500K just to login).

    If a user is going to have to start watching the meter to see if they go over the 200MB, 400MB, 2GB threshold, they are going to need to understand how they got there. I can hear the calls to CS now, “How could I have possibly downloaded 210MB of data last month”. Actually, it’s not that hard to do.

    A tool like SPB Wireless Manager (and I am sure there are others), breaks everything down by day and app, so you can see clearly and instantly where your data dollars are going. It also includes an alert to let you know when you are getting close to your threshold. To avoid all those frustrated customer calls, AT&T should (actually must) either develop their own tool or license existing tools for their customers. Unless of course, their true motive is to nickle and dime their customers to death with added charges. That would give Congress something else to talk about.

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