AT&T Pulls a Switcheroony – New Data Plans, no longer unlimited!

It seemed like only last week when I shared my 1st month of iPad data use with you all. I started out with the 250MB/month iPad plan knowing that I could always upgrade to the unlimited data plan if I needed to. Now it looks as if the unlimited plan is going away unless you act TODAY! Starting today, AT&T will start NEW data plans for ALL Smart phone devices (including iPad/iPhone). So if you already bought an iPad 3G and thought that you might some day want to go "UNLIMITED" for $29.99/month, then you better do it now, because starting today that plan goes away for NEW subscribers. Here's the break down:


The OLD Plans (prior to 6/7/2010) iPad – 250 MB/month $14.99/month Unlimited Data Plan $29.99/month
The OLD iPhone Plans iPhone 2G UNLIMITED+200 SMS  Data  $20/month iPhone 3G/3GS Unlimited Data $30/month (+$5/month for 200 SMS)
The NEW Data Plans starting TODAY for NEW accounts (iPhones too) DataPlus 200MB/month $15/month DataPro 2GB/month $25/month
Tethering your SmartPhone (iPhone with 4.0 software)   DataPro plan $25 + Tethering $20 = $45/month



While the prices are technically cheaper, Unlimited goes away! 2GB's sounds like a lot and it probably is for MOST people, but if you plan to stream video on your device 2GB in a month can be eaten up pretty quickly. These new plans now make it so that you have to monitor your usage closely. Luckily if you do go over, you're not charged a per kilobyte fee. Instead you'll be able to add on another block of usage for a set price (another 200MB for $15 or if you're on the DataPro plan you get another 1GB for $10). So again if you do a lot of streaming, your bill could be quite high. I should also mention that all of these NEW plans do come with FREE access to any AT&T WiFi hotspots.

No iPad to iPhone tethering, yetAccording to AT&T, they have no problem with you tethering your iPad to your iPhone to share the iPhone's data connection. However, currently the iPad doesn't support it in it's OS and Apple says that the 4.0 OS update isn't coming to the iPad until the fall. So we may have to wait til then to see if the iPad will tether to the iPhone.

See the AT&T Plan details here on their site.


How much Data have I used on my iPhone or other smartphone?

Although you can look this info up on your device, I find the most accurate way is to dial *3282# from your phone and you'll get a text message with the break down of your current usage.


Don't think you're going to use that much data?

Maybe you won't, but here's some food for thought. If you're just doing normal surfing, email, etc. then you're probably fine. However, let's not forget that iTunes sells and rents MOVIES! The average movie size is 1.5GB. So if you rent a movie over 3G, you could quickly hit the limit of the DataPro plan and then start having to pay for additional 1GB blocks at $10 a pop before your next billing cycle. I know it's easy to say, "well don't do that. Download your movies while you're on WiFi." However, this wasn't an issue yesterday and now somehow makes the mobile platforms seem a little less fun.


What do you think of these New Plans?

14 Replies to “AT&T Pulls a Switcheroony – New Data Plans, no longer unlimited!”

  1. Kinda strange the amount of data usage for me this month the most in months, but I did upgrade to a new iPhone and then had to exchange it 2 weeks later.. I wonder if the extra usage had to do with the mobile me syncing..

  2. I will probably grandfather the unlimited plan. Being a longtime subscriber to the DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket, the iPhone app allows you to view any game live (with SuperFan option). Which is beautiful on a Sunday when I am out of town or won’t be home to watch. This could be heavy consumption. But on the other hand maybe I just pay the overage with the 2GB plan during the 4 months of football season.

    Hopefully, unlimited plan subscribers can maintain it when upgrading to the new iPhone release. I’ll have to read the details. That may be the next Switcheroony.

    1. I have DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket as well. No Superfan option though. For me, I couldn’t justify the extra cost. Have you considered using a Slingbox? The Slingbox and Slingbox iphone app allows me watch the NFL Sunday ticket games and anything else that’s on my TV or DVR when I’m away from home. The Slingbox app now works over 3g and is much better in my opinion than the Sunday Ticket app. Also there’s no monthly fees with the Slingbox. Once you make the initial hardware and software purchases, that’s it. Lastly, the pixel doubled Slingbox app on my iPad isn’t crystal clear but very watchable. I have the unlimited plan and have no intentions of switching. The extra $5 (even if I don’t go over 2 gb most months) is worth peace of mind in not having to constantly monitor my data usage. (I have no affiliation with Sling Media.)

      1. I may give that some thought. My DVR gets monoplized by the wife and kids (except for Sunday football) so I may not get much use of the Slingbox 😉

        I agree with you that the extra $5 is worth it to me. Now I wish they included tethering for the unlimited plan, but that is asking too much from AT&T obviously.

  3. the answer is… get off the iDevice crack! Seriously though, how is it that AT&T and Apple are setting everyone up for a gouging, while Sprint and Google are ramping up for more fun at a cheaper price?

    Sprint offers a plan which included unlimited data, web, text and cell-to-cell calls on ANY CELL NETWORK TO ANY CELL EVEN IF IT ISN’T A SPRINT CELL all for $69. I am now an AT&T iPhone user, and long ago I was a Sprint customer. It might be time to go back to Sprint.

    Terry, I realize you are pretty devoted to the iPhone OS, but I think it is time for you to review and experience a new Android smartphone.

    1. Actually I will have an Android device at some point this year so stay tuned. Nonetheless it will be on AT&T (our corp standard) so at that point the device type is irrevelent in regards to this post.

  4. I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I’ve been on my fiance’s AT&T service for a couple of years now. I’m still wearing out a Gen 1 iPhone, though he has a 3G. He’s been on the same AT&T plan for over a decade now, we pretty much don’t have to worry about our service at all. Minutes to spare kinda thing. But I’m due for an upgrade and I’m afraid with the new iPhone it might throw a kink in our plan? I guess I’ll find out.

  5. No question, this smacks of a bait and switch by AT&T. I wonder how many people were, like myself, seduced into buying the 3G iPad model because of the “unlimited” data plan, but might have gone without 3G if they knew up front that the data was going to be limited? One of the big wins (before) was the ability to sign up month to month, so someone like me could work via wireless networking, but add data when traveling….now, I have signed up for unlimited data just before the switcheroo to lock in the plan.

    One also hopes the FCC / FTC will eventually notice that AT&T is double charging for tethered access. It seems unfair to charge for the data plan, and then charge AGAIN based on how you actually use the bandwidth. Now if the Coca Cola corporation could charge you for the 2-liter bottle of Coke, and then you had to pay another $10 to them if you decided to add sum rum to it…

  6. Terry,

    You mentioned SMS on the old plan and didn’t say anything on the new plan. Should I assume that you have to pay the $5 extra on top for SMS?

  7. Terry…. HELP AGAIN PLEASE…. I did wait, and am going to get the new iPhone, thanks for the advice. Now another question, at AT&T I was encouraged to switch from Comcast to U-Verse for my TV. OPINION PLEASE…… From Terry or anyone with U-Verse vs Comcast experience. I own an iMac and the newest MacBookPro 13″ (and still one Dell Laptop for PC stuff and OUTLOOK!) I still wish Outlook would come to Mac!!!
    I’ve chatted above… basic question, as quickly as possible, please…..U-Verse vs Comcast? (PS, my internet is now AT&T DSL…but I am ‘at the end of the line’ and can only get the slowest service they have!!!)
    Thanks… Sally

    1. Having had both Comcast and AT&T DSL, Comcast (no real love there) blows them away speed wise. While DSL is usually cheaper, I don’t care because I need the speed.

    2. U-verse is NOT DSL. It has a lot of nice features and capabilities, and I think it more reliably gives you the rates speed. If it is cheaper than Comcast, I’d go with U-verse, but check the speed available. Not all areas can get top speed, so make sure you can get the speed you need.

  8. I have never used more than 104MB of 3G data on my iPhone 3Gs. At first I was excited that I’ll be able to save some money on my plan. Here is the issue though, 200MB is 15$, and 15$ for 200MB more if you go over. Its 25$ for 2GB and 10$ for an extra 1GB if you go over. Does this not seem overly skewed? Who thought this up, why not 15$ for 1GB and 25$ for 2GB, 10$ for an additional 1GB overage. Plain and simple right?
    See how this makes since, 5$ service, 10$ per 1GB. Come on AT&T, we’ve been hosed by you for so long, give us a solid.
    Of course my biggest fear is that they slowly lower the limits like they did off peak hours, eventually costing us more. Also there is the fear they don’t update the plans to allow more usage as new services become available, how long is it before streaming television is commonplace? Isn’t AT&T working on their own U-Verse streaming, my usage is going to go up then.

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