AT&T Feels The Heat From T-Mobile, Lifts Speed Caps On Unlimited Elite Phone Plans

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T-Mobile is famous for starting trends in the wireless industry that forces its competitors to take notice and match it feature-for-feature. For example, T-Mobile was the first to usher back in the era of "unlimited" smartphone plans. Then, in February, the company launched its Magenta MAX plan that removed data throttling from the equation if subscribers went over an arbitrary data limit. Now, AT&T is responding with updates to its Unlimited Elite data plan.

When launched initially, AT&T's Unlimited Elite plan allowed customers to consume 100GB of data during their billing cycle before being subject to data de-prioritization (i.e., throttling at AT&T's discretion). In addition, the plan gave customers 30GB of hotspot data and a maximum of 1080p video streaming.

The Unlimited Elite plan lifts the data de-prioritization restrictions with this week's updates, allowing truly "unlimited" data without speed caps. AT&T also increased the amount monthly allotment of hotspot data from 30GB to 40GB. At first glance, it's kind of odd that AT&T would still cap hotspot data on an unlimited plan because, after all, it's still the same data. However, AT&T probably wants to discourage customers from using a smartphone plan to feed all their devices in a home with this newly enhanced Unlimited Elite option.

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That isn't all that AT&T is changing; however, it also upgraded maximum video streaming quality from 1080p to 4K UHD resolution.

AT&T's Unlimited Elite plan now matches T-Mobile Magenta MAX on features, including 5G support, for those keeping scores. The prices of the competing plans are also the same at $85/month (for a single line) with autopay enabled. The only significant difference between the two is that AT&T Unlimited Elite bundles in HBO Max, while T-Mobile Magenta MAX gets you a Netflix subscription.

AT&T will roll out these new features for existing Unlimited Elite subscribers later this week at no additional cost.