AT&T adds $5 to the monthly price for smartphone and tablet data plans. But added bandwidth cuts the cost per megabyte.
Starting Sunday, January 22, AT&T customers will have to fork over a little bit more for mobile data packages. The company announced that it is raising its package prices by $5 each per month, but it is also increasing the size of those data packages, which offsets the cost a smidge.
The current plans offer 200 MB for $15 per month or 2 GB for $25 per month. Mobile hotspot customers paid $25 per month for the 2 GB plan and another $20 for 2 GB of hotspot data, for a monthly total of 4 GB for $45.
Moving forward, there will be three new plans for smartphones: 300 MB for $20 per month; 3 GB for $30 per month; and 5 GB for $50 per month. The $50 plan also includes mobile hotspot/tethering.
AT&T has increased the cost of its monthly data plans for tablets, too. The prices mirror those of the smartphone plans, which cost $15 for 250 MB, $30 for 3 GB, or $50 for 5 GB.
Looking at the cost per megabyte, AT&T's new smartphone data bundles come in slightly cheaper than the old ones. Previously, for $1 you could get 13 MB on the $15 plan; 80 MB on the $25 plan; and 88 MB on the $45 plan. For that same dollar, the new plans will offer 15 MB on the $20 plan, and 100 MB on the $30 or $50 plans.
AT&T is allowing existing customers to keep their existing plans, however, including the entry-level 200 MB for $15 option. Of course, if you exceed your data limit, AT&T will hit you with an overage charge. The overage charges remain the same at $10 per gigabyte over the monthly allotment.
"Customers are using more data than ever before," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T mobility and consumer markets. "Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment."
AT&T points out that it will send SMS alerts to customers as they near and/or surpass their monthly limits in order to cut down on the possibility of incurring overages. It also encourages customers to keep their Wi-Fi radios on, as smartphone and tablet customers have free access to AT&T's 29,000 Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.
Any way you care to slice the data points, new customers will still have to pay $5 more per month to access data--whether it be HSPA+ or LTE--from AT&T. And that stinks.
(Sprint and T-Mobile have packages that cost a bit less than AT&T's new plans, but Verizon's still cost a bit more than AT&T's new plans.)
For the 15th consecutive year, InformationWeek is conducting its U.S. IT Salary Survey. Upon completion of the survey, you will be eligible to enter a contest for prizes including a Bravia HDTV or iPad 2, and get a link to download our report once it is published. Take the survey now. Survey ends Jan. 20.
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.