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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:

  • 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.



  1. tivoboy

    06/02/2010 at 8:29 am

    bout time, we KNEW this was coming right, as pretty much ALL traffic is moving towards DATA, the phone companies need to get the models in place or otherwise suffer the POTS depreciation

  2. thinkpanda

    06/02/2010 at 9:26 am

    How does AT&T know whether a phone is tethering or not?

    • Xavier Lanier

      06/02/2010 at 9:40 am

      I assume AT&T’s going to offer a connection manager and iPhones that aren’t on a tethering plan won’t be able to access it.

      • Gordon

        06/02/2010 at 5:44 pm

        We’ve had iphone tethering since the 3gS launch. Don’t know why you need OS4 for it. It’s enabled through the network settings in itunes so the carrier knows if you have access to it by the device number. After activating tethering for the first time I had to sync my phone to itunes and do an update for the settings to be enabled. Smae when some local carriers enabled visual voicemail.


        • Xavier Lanier

          06/03/2010 at 8:16 am

          Thanks Gordon, shows you how much we’ve been kept in the dark about iPhone tethering here in the U.S. Question for you, are you able to set up tethering with multiple PCs/Macs or does it only work with the computer you’ve synched your iPhone to?

  3. Xavier Lanier

    06/02/2010 at 9:28 am

    Good move in my opinion in terms of knowing what you’re getting for your money. Of course it’s bad news for iPhone users who stream a bunch. On the upside, the unlimited users are going to be grandfathered in.

  4. Paul Harrigan

    06/02/2010 at 10:46 am

    “On the upside, the unlimited users are going to be grandfathered in.”

    They will be grandfathered in only as long as they use their existing phones, I suspect.

    How many iphone users are long time-same phone people?

    • Xavier Lanier

      06/02/2010 at 12:14 pm

      I’m not familiar with how AT&T handles this, but Sprint allows customers to switch devices while keeping old plans. For example, I my Sprint 3G contract is about 5 years old (I think) and I get unlimited data. I’ve had three USB modems and am now on the MiFi. Still on the same old $60/mo unlimited plan. If I ever ditch the plan I’ll have to choose a 5GB cap from the carrier of my choice.

  5. GoodThings2Life

    06/02/2010 at 5:11 pm

    Umm, I would like to point out that the claim is they’re hoping to reduce their network traffic, right?

    But if they’re already saying 98% of their traffic is under 2GB, then what really changes? They’re just charging $25/month for 2GB instead of what is it now… $30-35/month for 5GB?

    The math is a little funny to me…

  6. JimAtLaw

    06/03/2010 at 4:35 pm

    Wow, this dramatically reduces the attractiveness of the 3G iPad and future iPhones – AT&T now limits you to less than half the data of other carriers. Sounds like a plan to boost fees through the roof for heavier data users – I was about to buy an iPad on top of my iPhone 3G and new MBP but I guess not. I have no idea why Apple would tie itself to this horse…

  7. Ed

    06/16/2010 at 10:36 pm

    The limited data plan is a big no go for me on the ipad. One movie download and you can exceed your data plan and its $10 per gig there after.

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