AT&T has announced the upcoming availability of shared data plans. The new plans allow customers to share data between family members and also between devices.

Called “AT&T Mobile Share” plans, the new options become available in “late August,” according to the company’s press release.

This announcement comes just weeks after Verizon announced a similar plan that went into effect on June 28.

Like Verizon’s plan, AT&T customers will be able to share data across 10 devices. One of these must be a smartphone. Each plan includes tethering and unlimited domestic calls and texts for smartphones and basic or quick messaging phones.

Naturally, the devil is in the details.

Upfront costs begin at $45/month for smartphones, but this cost falls, depending on which data plan is chosen. In other words, the more data you buy, the lower the upfront costs will be for each smartphone.

Other monthly costs are: $30 for basic and quick messaging phones, $20 for laptops, LaptopConnect cards, and netbooks, and $10 for tablets and gaming devices.

AT&T Shared Data Plans

  • 1GB; $40 ($40/GB)
  • 4GB; $70 ($17.50/GB)
  • 6GB; $90 ($15/GB)
  • 10GB; $120 ($12/GB)
  • 15GB; $160 ($10.67/GB)
  • 20GB; $200 ($10/GB)

For example, a household that includes three iPhones and two iPads would pay $120/month for the devices plus another $70/month to share 4GB of data, for a total of $190. Meanwhile, a household with one iPhone and two iPads would pay $65 plus an additional $120/month to share 10GB of data, or $185.

According to David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility:

With these new plans, the more you share, the more you save. They’ll be a good fit for a variety of new and existing customers. But if customers want to stay on their current plan or choose from our existing plans, they can do that, too. It’s their choice.

Compared to Verizon

Unlike AT&T, Verizon does not use a sliding scale to determine the price of each smartphone attached to one of their “Share Everything” plans. Instead, they charge a flat fee of $40 per phone.

However, the price to add tablets, laptops, and basic phones is the same for each carrier.

In terms of data, both companies offer six different plans. However, Verizon’s plans max out at 10GB, while AT&T’s largest plan is 20GB. Verizon does, however, allow customers to purchase additional data for $10/month for 2GB of data. Because of this, both plans match up quite nicely. Both companies charge $15/month per gigabyte for overages.

As a way to compare both plans, let’s looks at two scenarios.

Scenario one includes a family with two iPhones, two iPads, plus a laptop.

To share 4GB of data, AT&T would charge a total of $190, or $120 for the devices and $70 for the data. Verizon, meanwhile, would charge the same amount.

Under our next scenario, a family has four iPhones, one basic phone, two laptops, and two iPads.

To share 6GB of data, AT&T would charge $230 for the devices and $90 for the data, or a total of $320. Under the same scenario, Verizon would charge $250 for the devices and $80 for the data, for a total of $330.

We also looked at some other scenarios. In most instances, AT&T’s plans were less expensive. However, the differences were very small.

Whether AT&T’s “Mobile Share” plans are right for your household, of course, depends on your situation. We suggest checking to see what your current data needs are and make a choice accordingly.

Are you going to switch to a ”Mobile Share” plan?