We knew this day was coming. AT&T announced today that it will no longer offer unlimited data plans for wireless customers. There's little doubt that many of its customers -- particularly iPhone users who love their data -- will be angered by this move. But really, the vast majority of mobile phone customers should be quite pleased.
For anyone new to AT&T, the following options will be provided for data:
DataPlus: 200 megabytes of data for $15 per month
- Overage charge: $15 for each additional 200 MB of data
DataPro: 2 gigabytes of data for $25 per month
- Overage charge: $10 for each additional 1GB of data
According to AT&T, 65% of its smartphone customers use less than 200MB per month, while 98% of its smartphone customers use less than 2GB per month.
Current AT&T customers pay $30 per month for an unlimited data plan. If you combine all that information above, you quickly learn that this change is only bad for 2% of AT&T smartphone customers -- the data hogs. Everyone else should manage to decrease the cost of their bill.
In fact, 2 gigabytes is an awful lot of data. Here's a chart from AT&T showing how much usage each plan would allow:
I consider myself virtually addicted to my iPhone. I obsessively check my e-mail on it (6 accounts!); I listen to streaming music as I walk to work; I surf the Internet fairly often; and I've got dozens of data-driven apps. Yet, going through my bills for the past several months, I can't find any month when my data usage exceeds 500 megabytes. So even though DataPlus wouldn't work for me, I would only be using one-quarter of the DataPro allotment and save $5 per month. Meanwhile, my fiancé isn't as big of a data user. Her monthly average is around 50MB. That means she could use DataPlus. This would reduce our combined monthly bill by $20.