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Making Sense of AT&T's New Data Plans Rates

July 18, 2012

AT&T announced today that it will be offering shared data plans called "AT&T Mobile Share" so that people with multiple devices can share data across those devices. Quite often, it's families that would benefit from sharing data, which was the case when "family plans" were introduced in order to share voice minutes.

Voice minutes and text messaging are unlimited with these news plans. This suggests that AT&T realizes that lower-cost VoIP alternatives exist, so there's no point trying to compete in the voice space. So rather than compete, AT&T will force customers to pay for the voice/text by charging a flat fee per phone, regardless of usage.

The new data sharing plan allows families to pool bandwidth as they did voice before, but the prices are not really cheaper than paying for individual plans. For example, if one has a 3-phone family plan at $70 with unlimited text and 2GB of data per phone, the total price is $70 + $30 (text) + $25 * 3 (data) = $175. Under the new pricing, the unlimited voice/text + 6GB of data would cost $195. But voice is unlimited, right? Who cares? The subscriber was probably OK with the limited voice minutes.

Anyway, here is the price breakdown:

How many people will actually save money with these new plans?

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Paul E. Jones

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