AT&T Puts An End To Unlimited Data Plans

AT&T is rolling out new data plans for smartphones and tablets. Starting next Monday (the same day Apple is expected to unveil a new iPhone), AT&T will begin offering new data plans with preset amounts of monthly data access. This also means that the current $30-per-month unlimited data plan will no longer be available to new users.

The new data plans will offer users three options:

  • DataPlus: This $15/month plan will provide for 200MB of data, which AT&T says will be enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), send/receive 150 emails with attachments, view 400 Web pages, post 50 photos on social media sites, and watch 20 minutes of streaming video. Should you exceed the 200MB allotment, you'll receive an additional 200MB for use within that same billing cycle for an additional $15. AT&T claims that 65 percent of its smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
  • DataPro: For heavier data users, the DataPro plan costs $25 per month and includes 2GB of data. Should you exceed the initial 2GB allotment, you will get an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle. AT&T says 98 percent of its smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data per month on average.
  • Tethering: If you want to use your smartphone as a modem, you'll have to pay an additional $20 per month. AT&T said tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases iPhone OS 4 this summer.   

The new plans include unlimited access at no additional charge to more than 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots in the U.S. To help users manage their data usage, AT&T plans to send free text messages after customers reach different usage intervals. The carrier will also provide online tools including a smartphone app that shows monthly usage information. 

For now, current AT&T smartphone customers will be able to keep their unlimited data plans if they like. Current iPad customers with the $29.99 per month unlimited plan will be able to keep that plan or switch to a new $25 per month plan that includes 2 GB of data.

In announcing the new plans, AT&T said that it believes the new options will make it more affordable for more people to enjoy mobile Internet access.