The real cost of AT&T's basic data plan

Summary:AT&T's $15 per month, basic data plan can add up quickly if you use more than the allotted 200MB of data. Here's a look at the numbers.

A guest blog by Rob Lee.

I just got off of the phone with AT&T business customer care where I was discussing the $15/200MB data plan versus the $25/2GB plan.

I uncovered what could be a very expensive proposition for anyone signing up for the $15/month, basic data plan.

Here is a recap of the numbers:

  • Monthly Fee $15 -- Data Cap 200MB
  • First Overage +$15 -- $30 -- Total Cap 400MB
  • Second Overage+$15 -- $45 -- Total Cap 600MB
  • ...
  • 9th Overage +$15 -- $150 -- Total Cap 2GB

If you sign up for the basic plan and use 2GB, your total cost for the month will be $150.

On the other hand, the $25 per month/2GB plan has an overage fee of only $10 and adds another 1GB to the total cap for the month. So the first overage would cost $10 and deliver 3GB of data -- all for a total of $35.

Most people don't realize the magnitude of the charges they will incur with the $15 data plan if they go over. It's much like the old cellular minute plans, where the lower the commitment, the higher the penalty for using the service – this is the same abusive service model.

AT&T stated that this is the contractual arrangement they have with Apple to supply data and knowing that Apple gets a residual on the data plan revenue from AT&T, I believe that Apple were quick to want this pricing model in place.

This is an item which will cause a lot of ill feelings and fodder for discussion once the issue is made public in a clear way.

Topics: Mobility, Banking, Enterprise Software, Hardware


Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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