January 19, 2012
Here we go again with AT&T adjusting their mobile data plans in an attempt to appease their smartphone and tablet customers. In an announcement posted earlier today, the wireless service provider outlined iPhone, iPad, and other mobile device data plans that have "more value" by offering a 33% larger data allowance but only a small price increase. Currently, iPhone and other smartphone users can select from three different data plans to best fit their budget and needs. There's the minimal Data Plus plan allowing up to 200MB of usage for $15 per month, the "I do more than email, surfing, and occasional app downloading" user Data Pro plan allowing up to 2GB of data usage for $25 per month, and the multiple device Data Pro with tethering plan allowing up to 4GB of total data usage for $45 per month. Starting next week, Jan. 22, the Data Plus plan will have the limit increased to 300MB but now cost $20 per month, the Data Pro plan will be raised to a 3GB limit and cost $30, and the Data Pro with tethering is going to be priced at $50 for up to 5GB of total usage. Remaining the same, Data Plus subscribers will be charged the plan price for another chunk of data, $20 more for up to 300MB of additional usage, and Data Pro subscribers will continue to pay $10 for one additional gigabyte of allowance. In addition, iPad and other tablet device owners are being pushed a similar change. The previously $25 for 2GB DataConnect plan turns into $30 for 3GB and a new 5GB DataConnect will become available for $50 per month. Unlike the smartphone plans, AT&T is claiming that tablet customers will still be able to choose the $15 per month 250MB plan if they so desire. Just like before, current AT&T wireless customers are not required to adopt the new plan configurations, often referred to as being "grandfathered." However, once a customer enrolls in a current plan, access to discontinued offerings is removed. Basically, there's no turning back once you've merged onto the new highway, so to speak. Foremost, I can't help but laugh about such an announcement being made only a couple of days after we demonstrated the effects of data throttling, a way to coerce mobile device owners to enroll in the tiered data plan offerings. As a secondary thought, I don't interpret this as being much of a solution. Any extra value is good, I suppose, but AT&T's generosity is being forced on customers. It's like a "buy one get the next half off" sale, although, you don't have a choice to not buy the second item. So, what are your thoughts? Are you in any way pleased AT&T is raising the limits, even if you're going to pay a bit more, or do you consider this a terrible approach to satisfy higher data allowance requests?