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AT&T Mobile Share Plan Offers More for Less



AT&T’s new Mobile Share plans can save some subscribers big money and provide additional services at no additional cost, especially for families with multiple smartphones. In my case, the new Mobile Share plan saves my family about $50 per month compared to our old plan, plus we get some bonuses thrown in.


Our old AT&T plan had a lot of components. At the base was FamilyTalk Nation 1400 with rollover, which cost $80 per month. Family messaging unlimited mobile to mobile calling cost an extra $30 per month. I need my iPhone to act as an emergency mobile hotspot so I paid $50 per month for DataPro 5 GB. I had to pay a $20 premium over the 3GB data plan in order to get the mobile hotspot, even though I didn’t need the extra data. I paid $30 per month for my wife’s iPhone to have “unlimited data,” which was actually limited to somewhere around 2.5 GB. There was also a $9.99 charge for my wife’s phone to be added to the family talk plan. The total damage was $199.99 per month before tax, insurance and miscellaneous fees.

I signed up for the 4 GB mobile share plan which costs $70 for the pool of data, unlimited calling and unlimited messaging. There’s a separate charge for each device I want to connect to this data plan. In our case that is a pair of iPhones, bringing the total to $150 per month. That’s a savings of $49.99 per month compared to our old plan, which adds up to almost $600 per year. In other words, we could buy a pair of top-end iPhones every year with the money we save from switching to AT&T’s new plan.

My wife is the biggest beneficiary of the share everything plan since her iPhone will now have the mobile hotspot feature enabled. Previously, her line didn’t have the feature enabled because she rarely needed to use it. However, she does travel for work several times per year and has had to borrow one of my devices to get online while attending conferences. Another benefit of the Mobile Share plan is that FaceTime will work over 3G and 4G when iOS 6 is released in the coming weeks. AT&T has already stated that subscribers on older plans will not be able to place or receive FaceTime calls over its wireless network.

While we are technically getting fewer gigabytes per month on the new plan, it doesn’t really matter considering that we never exceeded 4GB per month in the first place. We now have a wireless plan that’s better suited for our real-world needs.

Of cours mobile FaceTime calls, mobile hotspot tethering and the looming upgrade of the iPhone five to 4G LTE could mean to blow past the 4GB cap. In that case will have to pay $15 per gigabyte per month extra or before us to upgrade to a plan with more data. The 6GB Mobile Share Plan is only $10 more per month should we need it. In fact, we could upgrade always to 10 GB per month and still pay $20 per month less than we were on our old plan.

Screen Shot 2012-09-05 at 3.19.19 PM

The one thing I worry about is the temptation to upgrade to a much larger bucket of data such as the 20 GB for $200 plan. The blazing fast 4G LTE service we expect to see on the iPhone 5 could push a lot of users towards a bigger data plan.

While our household saving a significant amount of cash with the mobile share plan from AT&T, your mileage may vary depending on your needs and how many devices you have.

For once, I’m very pleased with a wireless carrier’s new billing scheme. Yes, $75 per month for each iPhone is expensive, but we both get more than enough value out of our devices to justify the $2.50 daily cost.




  1. davemilam

    09/05/2012 at 5:41 pm

    I just did the math. This plan will actually cost me more money per month for our family with 4 iPhones. (plus my wife and I lose our current unlimited plan) I wish AT&T would reduce the cost per smartphone. If they did, I might be willing to make the move. Right now, I’m getting more for a lot less.

    For me, this plan is a swing and a miss.

    • Xavier Lanier

      09/05/2012 at 6:00 pm

      Completely understand- your mileage will vary with these new plans. Remember though – your ‘unlimited’ plans are indeed limited. You may also reconsider if mobile FaceTime matters to you.

      • Weston G

        02/13/2013 at 10:01 am

        Unlimited plans are hardly limited. On 3G phones they throttle at 3GB but you an keep going. LTE phones throttle at 5GB. This means if you have 2 iPhone 5s on unlimited you are paying $60 for 10GB of data plus throttled unlimited data after 10 GB. Above you mention that you are paying $70 for data and only getting 4GB (You would get 6GB with iPhone 4Ss on unlimited) not to mention voice/text is $30-45 per line. That’s $60-90 for two phones. Sure you get unlimited talk. But who cares when you’re hardly getting any data. This plan is only good if you want to use hot-spot, FaceTime over cellular or need unlimited talk.

  2. Jim

    09/05/2012 at 10:21 pm

    I looked into this too and it was also more expensive for me to have 2 smartphones and a hotspot. Not sure how they messed up the pricing. And in a world when people are cutting cords on cable for less than $75, $75 is a lot each.

  3. cory

    09/07/2012 at 6:32 am

    I agree, I have two iphones, a Droid and a non smart phone. Currently I pay about $180 per month (two iphones have the $20 data and the droid the $15 data plan). We have family unlimited text and the 700 min talk plan (with roll over we NEVER need more) If I did the data share for 1gig I would pay about $220 !!!! Not even close at&t!!!!! Time to start looking at other phone carriers!

  4. ulall

    09/08/2012 at 7:48 am

    Consistent with the others for us with 4 phones the new plan is an extra 60 per month even accounting for paying for the unlimited messaging
    We also get lower data gb in aggregate
    This appears to be a marketing gimmick and not a serious effort to save families money
    After 12 years with att I may now switch to Verizon or T-Mobile

    • Xavier Lanier

      09/08/2012 at 8:06 am

      Ulall – I don’t think for one second that this is an effort to save users money on AT&T’s part. It’s a move to make more money on data rather than SMS/Voice, as wireless companies have done.
      I just switched my parents to a 1GB mobile share data plan and it will save them about $30 per month. They barely use any mobile data and they were paying for way too many voice minutes.
      Ultimately, iPhone users are going to want to (or be forced to) move to the mobile share plans since it’ll be the only way to get Facetime over 3G/4G on AT&T’s network. Who knows what other restrictions/benefits AT&T will arbitrarily put in place

  5. billz

    09/19/2012 at 6:57 pm

    $150 for just data and texting doesn’t seem much of a value to me….

    • robertss

      10/06/2012 at 10:14 pm

      Talk and text, this plan would save me $68 a no brainer.

  6. jeff cruz

    09/22/2012 at 7:15 am

    It is just a matter of time.. Verizon has already begun doing away with the “grandfathered in” folks on their old Unlimited data plans by requiring that ALL new phone purchases done with subsidized phones have to be moved to a new, NON-unlimited, data plan. The only way to keep their old unlimited data plan is to pay Full retail price for the phone. In the case of a new iPhone 5, that is like $600+. Not worth it.

    ATT will do the same type of thing in time. Just you wait.

  7. Chris

    09/29/2012 at 6:55 am

    that is exactly what i thought but we have two 4s’s 4 and a 3gs one teathering pland with 4 gigs one unlimited and two data pro 2 gig in total the teathering line used over 5 gigs and would run up quick. The unlimited plan only used 1.5 gigs a month and the 2 gig data pros used .5 gigs…. so as a family we used 7.5 gigs running around 140 a month so i opted for the 120 a month 10 gig… save around 12 bucks and got alot more for my money. now i can use as much as i need and know that im not taking or loosing anything from my family. the best benefit is the 4s’s facetime over cellular and the hot spot for the 4 and 3gs… it helped me

  8. Chris

    09/29/2012 at 7:03 am

    Sorry for the Horrible Grammer and Typing!
    Yes I’m an Apple Fan Boy being a Former employee, iPhone5 is nice but ill be holding off maybe for the next year and cycle my devices through the family.

  9. Chelsea

    10/05/2012 at 1:22 pm

    Can you still get a company discount (in my case it is a 15% government discount) with this new sharing?

    • Dustin

      11/05/2012 at 10:00 am

      Yes, only on the Shared data portion.

  10. Angela

    11/19/2012 at 11:23 am

    be wary of this plan. before we swtiched we rarely used over 2 gigs between 3 phones. The ATT sales rep went back over 6 months of records to confirm the usage. Since we switched we’ve used our 6 gb data every month, The phones are sending data EVERY HOUR. The only way to stop it is to turn the phone off. –or turn off cellular data (which defeats the purpose of having an iphone). ATT said it was apple’s problem–which should be resolved with the new IOS 6.1. Apple said that didn’t have any issues. I’ve wasted 2 hours of my life listening to these two entities blame each other. Been with ATT since mid 90’s. Will be switching very soon to another provider. This plan SUCKS.– Oh and check your usage during the month–print a copy then compare to your actual bill. A lot of the usages/charges during the month don’t show up on the final bill….Hmmm. is ATT trying to scare me into buying a bigger data plan?

  11. Keisha

    11/21/2012 at 11:23 am

    Hey Xavier – thanks for the article – this brought me a little closer to my decision on whether to switch or not. I do have an additional question though – what is the estimated amount of taxes you pay on that plan (i.e. in addition to the $150. a month)? Also, did they charge you a fee to switch over in addition to the monthly fee – for e.g. an activation fee? Thanks!

  12. Kamlii

    12/01/2012 at 10:43 am

    Yo, seriously, Angela above is right,

    they suck the megs off of u while you sleep.

    shared data plan = VAMPRIC data plan. this is another SCAM to rob us blind. The kicker for me was how eager the sales rep was to get me to switch, on paper it looked like it might save us about 50-70 bucks a month…. I smell a TRAP.


  13. Dmontagne

    01/10/2013 at 11:31 am

    ok. I have a story for y’all.. I have my iphone on ATT. On T-mobile I have my blackberry curve and two windows phones for my sons. Currently payin 90/month for my iphone and 256 for my phones on t-mobile. If I Switch to ATT mobile share all my phones then I’ll save approx 130/month (finally discontinuing my BB). To me it’s still worth the 200/phone early termination fee t-mobile wants to charge me. In fact I found out that my BB which I got in 2009 is still under contract because I added my sons phones in 2011 on a family plan. hmmm I don’t understand how they could include my BB (which was fully paid by 2011) to a new 2yr agreement.

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