AT&T Drops Unlimited Data for iPad and iPhone

Well, at least they aren’t trying to change the definition of the word “unlimited.” AT&T is announcing that it is changing its data plans for the iPad and the iPhone. Unless you’re already in a contract, you’ll have two options available when you sign over your soul to AT&T.

From the press release:

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  • 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 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.

The bottom line on this is while AT&T is spinning this as less expensive options, it appears they want to decrease traffic on their network, while upping the price point for power users who exceed their paltry limits. If you want an all you can eat data plan for the iPad, you’ve got until June 7 to do so, but giving current shipping projections, you won’t be activating until after June 7.

Notice also that AT&T is saying it will make tethering available for an additional $20 per month this summer, but there’s a gotcha if you want to keep your existing “unlimited” plan. You have to switch to one of the new plans. Coming and going.