In a move that is almost certainly a response to Verizon’s data plan offerings for the iPhone, AT&T announced that as of February 13th, it would begin including an extra 2GB of data allowance per month for users who pay for the optional $20 tethering plan on top of the $25 DataPro 2GB plan.
The change allows tethering plan customers to use a total of 4GB per month regardless of which device uses that data.
Previously, AT&T’s data tethering “plan” was really more of a fee to un-cripple the tethering feature most smart phones already have, as AT&T refused to offer any additional data allowance to users paying a premium for the feature.
If you’re an AT&T iPhone owner, you’ve probably noticed that the Internet Tethering area of Settings just tells you to contact AT&T if you aren’t paying for the tethering plan. Once you pay the fee, you’re able to get into that area and turn on tethering, but before February 13th any data you use while tethering still applies to the 2GB cap you paid for with the DataPro plan. After February 13th the additional $20 tethering fee will give you another 2GB of data to use anywhere.
Price per GB
Because AT&T smartphone users are required to pay for the $25 per month “DataPro 2GB” plan before they can opt for the additional $20 tethering plan, tethering users were actually paying $22.50/GB for data simply for the privilege of using it from a laptop or other device instead of the smartphone itself.
Now, AT&T smartphone users who opt to pay for both the $25 DataPro 2GB plan + $20 Tethering 2GB plan, will effectively be paying $11.25 per GB for data with a $10/GB overage rate.
Here’s how the new offerings compare to Verizon’s iPhone plans if you opt for the most expensive options on each carrier:
|Smartphone data||$30 / unlimited||$25 / 2GB|
|Tethering data||+$20 / +2GB||+$20 / +2GB|
|Total data charges||$50||$45|
|Total data allowance||Unlimited/2GB tethered||4GB|
Verizon’s tethering only permits 2GB of data (though data used on-phone is unlimited for now), while AT&T’s plan permits 4GB no matter where that data is used. Of couse, if you go over the data cap while tethering, Verizon will hit your pocket book twice as hard, in fact if you were to use 4GB while tethering on Verizon, you’d be hit with $40 in additional charges due to the $20/GB overage rate. On AT&T, using 4GB while tethered would still be within your $45 total data plan charges.
For heavy tethering users, AT&T’s plan is not only cheaper overall but includes more data, while for heavy smartphone data users, Verizon is the clear winner at least until they decide to start capping their dataplan, which we do know is coming at some point.
Full press release below
AT&T Details Pricing, Launch of AT&T Mobile Hotspot App Coming February 13
Application Provides Additional 2GB of Data, Bundled with AT&T Data Pro
DALLAS, Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — AT&T* today announced select smartphone customers will soon be able to connect multiple devices from their smartphone – via Wi-Fi – thanks to the new AT&T Mobile Hotspot application. The feature will first be available February 13, beginning with the in-store launch of the HTC Inspire™ 4G. Bundled with the AT&T Data Pro plan, customers will benefit from a total of 4GB for $45 per month.
In addition, also on February 13th, to bring AT&T’s smartphone tethering plan in line with the AT&T Mobile Hotspot offer, AT&T will automatically add the additional 2GB of monthly data usage to smartphone customers already on a tethering plan – at no extra charge. Customers will incur the same $20 monthly fee they’re accustomed to paying, only now they’ll receive an extra 2GB of data each month.
AT&T Mobile Hotspot details include:
* Connectivity for multiple wireless devices to AT&T’s mobile broadband network
* 2 GB of data usage for $20 a month, bundled with AT&T’s Data Pro plan ($25 / 2GB)
* The combined AT&T Data Pro plus AT&T Mobile Hotspot will provide 4GB for $45 per month
* 4GB applies to collective use among all devices
* Overage fee of $10 per gigabyte
“Our customers want to connect as many devices as possible to the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, which is getting faster with 4G,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.
“We want to extend the benefits of an additional 2GB to smartphone customers on our tethering plan. This delivers more value today for the price they’re already paying – and that’s what our customers want.”
Customers will receive a text message from AT&T – as soon as February 13 – once the additional 2GB has been auto-added to their plan.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
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