Wednesday, June 02, 2010

AT&T's new rate plans offer most iPhone users a consumer benefit

Used with permission. CC DerkT.

AT&T announced new data plans today. The new plans do not include their former unlimited data plan.

Fists began flying as irate users claimed AT&T was trying to squeeze more dollars out of consumers for overages.

I consider myself a higher-than-average user of data. I use a few social media networks, watch the occasional YouTube video, do plenty of web surfing and maps/navigation, and listen to a bit of online radio over 3G. Apparently, AT&T considers me a higher-than-average user, too. Nonetheless, the company claimed they were providing new, discounted plans that would benefit 98% of their users. They proposed that the remaining 2% of the users (likely jailbroken tetherers) are stressing their maxed-out network, saturating it, and ruining the experience for the rest of us.

After briefly reviewing the details, I am forced to concede. AT&T appears to be doing us a favor. Take a look at our usage trends for the past six months:

My wife and I currently pay $30 each, per month, for unlimited data. But the most either of us has ever used in a month is around 0.5GB. We're well within the 98% of users. AT&T's new plan would provide up to 2GB per month, per line, for $25.

If I'm reading this correctly, that means we can switch from the unlimited plan to the 2GB/mo. plan, save $120 a year on the family budget, and still watch our data usage increase by almost 4x before we have to rethink things.

There's also an even more-discounted, "ala carte," 200MB/mo. plan for $15. They say this will cover 65% of users. I can believe that. You'll pay an additional $15 for each 200MB you go over that, but for 65% of users, they're only getting dinged by AT&T if they don't take advantage of the deal.

If you are a current AT&T unlimited data user, and you disagree with this post, you are still "grandfathered" in to your unlimited data plan if you so choose. AT&T currently has no roadmap to eliminate this plan for existing unlimited users.

And that's good news.

Want to see your data usage for the past six months?

  1. Log in at

  2. Go to Usage & Recent Activity.

  3. Look for a link that says View Past Data Usage and click on it.

More news on the same thing:

  1. Are you an iPhone user who will benefit from the new plans?

  2. Are you upset by the announcement?