¶ Thoughts on AT&T's Updated Data Plans

When I switched to AT&T in 2008 to get the iPhone 3G, the only data plan was a $30/month “unlimited” (read: 5GB) plan. In 2010, right when my wife and I were upgrading to the iPhone 4, AT&T tossed aside the “unlimited” plan, and replaced it with two new plans, as such:

  • DataPlus 200MB at $15/month
  • DataPro 2GB at $25/month

MacRumors reports AT&T has updated its data plans again, going into effect this Sunday, January 22nd. Here’s how the new plans shake out:

  • DataPlus 300MB at $20/month
  • DataPro 3GB at $30/month
  • DataPro 5GB at $50/month (includes mobile hotspot/tethering)

And for iPad 3G users:

  • 250MB for $15/month
  • 3GB for $30/month
  • 5GB for $50/month

Right now, my wife is on the 200MB/month plan and I am on the 2GB/month plan. My wife rarely goes over 100MB on her plan each month, but I know that is because she is conscious of her limit and actively tries not to use her iPhone unless she is on Wi-Fi. I usually hover around 300MB per month in my 3G usage. It would be more (much more) if I were not on Wi-Fi the majority of the time. So the 200MB plan has never been for me. Most months, looking at my history, I could get away with this new 300MB plan. But, in months where I travel, I easily go over 300MB, but rarely over 500MB.

I think I’ll stay on the 2GB plan, which is far more than I need. Maybe I’ll move my wife up to the 300MB, so she can relax a little when she’s off Wi-Fi.

A few things about these plans are churning in my mind, though:

  • The 300MB plan, like the 200MB plan before it, are complete rip-offs compared to the other plans. If $30 gets you 3GB, and $50 gets you 5GB, then doesn’t the math say that $20 should get you 2GB, instead of a piddly 300MB?
  • If there were a $15 plan for, say, 500MB, both my wife and I could have that, and I wouldn’t need to be paying for more data than I use.
  • 3GB is a lot of mobile data. My wife and I could share that and never use all of it in a month. Why do we not have family data plans yet? Hey, AT&T, how about you offer that. You could even call it DataFamily to fit into your nomenclature.
  • If AT&T won’t offer family data plans, they should at least offer rollover data. Rollover minutes have long been part of their marketing. With rollover data, my wife and I could both use the lower 300MB plan, and most months we would be filling the rollover bucket. During travel months, like December, we could dip into our little bucket of rollover worry free.

Come on, AT&T, do something for once that helps me save a couple bucks. I know that idea seems foreign to you, but it would help you out, too, because you’d keep my family as a customer, and I would tell others about how flexible your plans are.