Print 18 comment(s) - last by HrilL.. on Feb 7 at 1:41 PM

AT&T finally gets with the program when it comes to smartphone tethering

When AT&T introduced its tiered smartphone data plans last year, most customers were quite upset with the move. While some customers that didn't use much data could actually end up saving a bit with the Data Plus 200MB ($15) and Data Pro 2GB ($25) plans, most hardcore smartphone users decided to stick to their grandfathered unlimited data plans ($30). 

However, AT&T was especially sneaky with its tethering package for Data Pro users. Even though tethering usually results in increased data usage, AT&T decided to keep the data limits firm at 2GB. This was probably the most egregious move on AT&T's part when it switched to its tiered data plans. 

Now, it looks as though a little bit of competition in the form of the iPhone 4 on Verizon's wireless network is finally persuading AT&T to see the error in its ways. The company has announced that starting February 13, it will allow customers on the Data Pro plan to have a total of 4GB of data while tethering. The total price for the package will be $45 per month.

Customers that are already on the Data Pro plan with tethering will automatically see an extra 2GB of data show up on their accounts. Once you go over the 4GB limit, however, you'll be charged an overage fee of $10 per gigabyte.

"Our customers want to connect as many devices as possible to the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, which is getting faster with 4G," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.

"We want to extend the benefits of an additional 2GB to smartphone customers on our tethering plan. This delivers more value today for the price they're already paying – and that's what our customers want."

It’s nice to hear that AT&T finally listened to what its “customers wanted” even though the move comes about eight months too late.

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No Thanks
By FDisk City on 2/2/2011 4:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
I've been with AT&T for ten years but will switch to another carrier when I purchase an Android phone. I may never use 2GB/month but won't stay with a company that doesn't offer an unlimited plan.

Thanks for offering less to your customers, AT&T.

RE: No Thanks
By fic2 on 2/2/2011 4:41:25 PM , Rating: 3
What is funny is that the new offer is $45 for 4G - $11.25/G. But overages are $10/G. I would rather have just an "overage" plan. So if I only download 1G in a month I only pay $10, 2G/$20...

Also, of course, it is hard to get exactly that 1G so you might be paying an overage fee of $10 for 10 bytes over your 4G.

RE: No Thanks
By wempa on 2/3/2011 12:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you. But, of course they won't offer such a plan because they'd LOSE money. Since the majority of the users consume so little data, they need to make the least expensive plan a total rip-off. I'm glad I still have unlimited on Verizon, but who knows how long that will last !

RE: No Thanks
By vol7ron on 2/4/2011 11:09:51 AM , Rating: 2
Even when they said it was unlimited, it really wasn't. Many companies state that it's unlimited up to something like 5GB - ha.

I question the whole overage fact. $10/GB does not seem right. Given the history of the way they price overages, I would think they'd have $10 per 100MB.

I would like to see mobile phones go on a more fluid usage plan: $0.01/MB and $0.001/sec. You wouldn't need to offer contracts at that price ($20.48 for 2GB and $27 for 450min). Of course their network couldn't handle it, but having no fear of overage fees, would be nice. I think offering a consumption plan is a little more fair.

RE: No Thanks
By coldpower27 on 2/5/2011 10:04:38 PM , Rating: 2
$0.01/MB and $0.001/sec. You wouldn't need to offer contracts at that price ($20.48 for 2GB and $27 for 450min)

Nah that wouldn't be that great overall for the cell phone companies, as it's always been about certain people subsidizing others...

Like someone has said they wouldn't make enough on the data as most people's usage is below 500MB likely which equates to barely $5.

RE: No Thanks
By FDisk City on 2/3/2011 12:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't have a problem with them introducing some cheaper tiered plans but going from unlimited to 2GB for about the same price is completely unacceptable.

RE: No Thanks
By ElderTech on 2/3/2011 5:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
If tethered data is your primary concern, you might want to check out this current blog and specific referenced reviews of the Verizon iPhone 4 on DailyTech:

As has recently been the case, AT&T is the fastest data provider "on average" with substantial variance depending on your location. But if you have good coverage from both AT&T and Verizon, AT&T will provide substantially faster data both down and up.

RE: No Thanks
By HrilL on 2/7/2011 1:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
The thing you missed is that with tethering it was already $45 for only 2GB and then you'd still be paying $10/GB in overages. So it used to be $22.50/GB for the first 2GB then $10/GB after. Now it is $11.25/GB for the first 4GB and then $10/GB after. Its a much better deal now than it was.

RE: No Thanks
By micksh on 2/2/2011 4:48:09 PM , Rating: 2
Register your old dumbphone at AT&T. Get unlimited dumbphone data plan for $15/month.
Buy unlocked smartphone for full price at other retailer. Should come with stock Android and tethering enabled. Save $30/month.

Even if you compare it with $30/month unlimited smartphone plan from other carriers - paying $15/m will save $360 over 2 year plan. That's usually more that carrier's subsidy for smartphone. So it makes sense to pay full price upfront.

RE: No Thanks
By chick0n on 2/2/2011 10:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T will know, and will change your plan or disable your internet access.

At least that's exactly what happened to my friend.

They might not cut you off now, but sooner or later they will

*So glad Im not using AT&T, The Nation's slowest network*

RE: No Thanks
By micksh on 2/3/2011 5:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
You are right. I checked AT&T forums and it looks like smartphone will eventually get detected, even if it's not AT&T branded. AT&T branded phones are detected immediately even if they are obtained from 3rd parties.

Samus , virtually none AT&T phone can use T-mobile 1700MHz 3G band.

RE: No Thanks
By Samus on 2/3/2011 2:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
unlimited text=$10

*Virtually any AT&T phone can be unlocked for use on T-mobile

RE: No Thanks
By HrilL on 2/7/2011 1:41:26 PM , Rating: 2
If you only want EDGE network support then yeah I suppose you're right. But as of now most At&t 3G phones do not in fact support the 1700Mghz band that T-mobile uses for their 3G.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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