AT&T today announced its shared data plans for smartphone, tablet (phablet?), and Mac/PC users. Current and new customers will be able to choose plans for all of their devices with one with a fairly simple matrix. Current customers will not be forced into these plans (ahem Verizon!), but many with multiple devices/family members might jump at the opportunity.
Bucket plans start at $45 a month (but drop to $30 a month at higher data tiers) + $40 for 1GB of data. Tablets like the iPad will cost $10 a month to add to a smartphone plan. PCs and Macs will be an additional $20 each via LaptopConnect cards, MiFi, or built-in modems. Adding an extra smartphone with unlimited talk and text will be $30 a month.
Interestingly, MiFis are grouped with PCs, so that might be better than getting a separate tablet and PC charge, but it also is another device to carry/charge. Moreover, the extra hop often slows down the speed of the network.
Below is the cost matrix:
Let’s say you have an iPhone and an iPad that you want to put on AT&T’s network with 10GB of data per month. It would be $120+$30 for the iPhone and an additional $10/month for the iPad. That is $160 a month. Adding a Mac data card would bring the total to $180 a month.
This shared bucket plan will particularly appeal to folks with lots of devices/family members and probably most of all businesses that want simplified billing and bucket data. Whether customers use the bucket for a bunch of co-workers or one businessperson with like three biz devices, billing will be simplified for IT.
“We offer customers a broad choice and the best lineup of plans, now enhanced by Mobile Share,” said AT&T Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher. “With these new plans, the more you share, the more you save. They will be a good fit for a variety of new and existing customers. However, if customers want to stay on their current plan or choose from our existing plans, they can do that, too. It is their choice.
“Today we think of people’s smartphones and tablets sharing a bucket of data. But in the future we’ll see health care monitors, connected cars, security systems and other devices in the home all connected to the mobile Internet,” said Christopher. “Our Mobile Share plans are simple, easy and a great value for individuals or families with multiple mobile Internet devices.”
You need to activate a smartphone with these plans. You cannot go data only. I would have liked a data-only share plan where I could just buy data for a few iPads and Macs to share.
The full release follows:
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