AT&T starts putting the brakes on unlimited iPhone/iPad data

Summary:Given that AT&Ts network already seems to be creaking under the load of millions of iPhone users checking their email, watching YouTube and uploading new LOLcats, "unlimited" really was an offer too good to last. AT&T is announcing changes to it's iPhone and iPad data plans that try to wean data-hungry users off the all-you-can-eat plans.

Given that AT&Ts network already seems to be creaking under the load of millions of iPhone users checking their email, watching YouTube and uploading new LOLcats, "unlimited" really was an offer too good to last. AT&T is announcing changes to it's iPhone and iPad data plans that try to wean data-hungry users off the all-you-can-eat plans.

First there are changes to iPhone users. They only affect users who will want to the tethering option, but the upper limit on this data plan will be 2GB:

  • DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 150 emails with attachments, plus view 400 Web pages, plus post 50 photos on social media sites, plus watch 20 minutes of streaming video – for just $15 per month.** This plan, which can save customers up to 50 percent off their wireless data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the cycle. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
  • DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, plus view 4,000 Web pages, plus post 500 photos to social media sites, plus watch 200 minutes of streaming video – for $25 per month.** Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle. Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.
  • Tethering. Smartphone customers – including iPhone customers – who choose the DataPro plan have the option to add tethering for an additional $20 per month. Tethering lets customers use their tethering-enabled smartphones as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks or other computing devices. Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases iPhone OS 4 this summer.

There are also changes to the iPad offerings too:

For new iPad customers, the $25 per month 2 GB plan will replace the existing $29.99 unlimited plan. iPad customers will continue to pre-pay for their wireless data plan and no contract is required. Existing iPad customers who have the $29.99 per month unlimited plan can keep that plan or switch to the new $25 per month plan with 2 GB of data.

For some, this will save money, but for heavy data users they are a sign of things to come. These are some pretty aggressive cuts to the data plans, and while they only affect a small percentage of users, those users are going to have to seriously change their ways or the overcharges are going to be crazy.

These plans will come into effect June 7th.

Topics: Hardware, AT&T, Collaboration, iPad, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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