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AT&T Still Working on Shared Data Plans



After announcing its intentions on providing customers with a simple billing method to share the same mobile broadband data plan with multiple devices at last year’s All Things D conference, AT&T Mobility head Ralph de la Vega says that shared data plans are still in the works. In an interview with All Things Digital at the Consumer Electronics Show at the carrier’s Developer Summit, de la Vega confesses that it’s taking a lot longer to work out all the specifics; he did not give any specific timeline as to when shared data plans will make its way to AT&T’s network.

While 2011 saw a large growth in smartphone adoption and the number of tablets being introduced into the market, industry observers criticized that the adoption rate of tablets and other embedded devices remain slow due to expensive hardware and costly data plans.

Under shared data plans, or family data as some are referring it, consumers would no longer need separate data plans for each device they own, ranging from embedded laptops, mobile hotspot units, and tablets. Instead, consumers will purchase data, like they would currently with voice minutes for family plans, and be able to share the data bucket with various devices that they own, making it more cost effective for users to have more than one data-capable device.

AT&T’s rival Verizon Wireless is said to be introducing shared data plans later this year.



  1. dstrauss

    01/18/2012 at 6:19 am

    What’s AT&T’s incentive to push shared data plans out the door? A family of four now pays around $120 per month on separate data plans. Do you suppose the new “shared bucket” will even cost less than $100? Don’t hold your breath folks – if the industry was able to adopt shared buckets of minutes decades ago, there is NOTHING stopping shared data other than profit margins.

    • Joe

      02/13/2012 at 12:57 pm

      I doubt there are that many family of 4 who each has a data plan. $120 for just the data plan on your phones is ridiculous. Most people still need internet for their computers as well.

      Only people who major debt or very high salaries can afford that.

      • cyrways

        03/19/2012 at 8:42 am

        My family has 3 iphones, we each pay 25-30 a month for our data and we aren’t spetacularly rich or in debt. Just priorities is all. For all three of us it’s around $220 a month, plus I have data on my ipad. And we still have internet at home mainly because of the limited data caps on wireless. I use too much data each month at home to be able to afford all wireless connection.

  2. blcamp

    01/18/2012 at 9:30 am

    How about COM-PE-TI-TION? Once the first US carrier introduces a shared bucket, all the other players will come out with their own…  the floodgates will fly open.

    • Anonymous

      01/23/2012 at 6:25 pm

      T-mobile has had shared data for quite some time.

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