More on AT&T stops unlimited data usage…

Image Courtesy: boston.com

…and the news keeps pouring in!

As we reported earlier today, this morning AT&T announced it’s plans to stop offering unlimited data plans as an option for their smartphone, iPhone and iPad users.  The New York Times is citing the data gridlock experienced over AT&T’s 3G network as the major reason for the plan changes (which we all saw coming).  The plan changes are going to come in the form of two new plans, DataPlus (200 MB – $15/ month) and DataPro (2GB – $25/ month) – with the added option of tethering for DataPro customers ($20/ month).

Earlier reports of the plan changes had AT&T claiming that these changes would not really affect AT&T subscribers, as only 98% of subscribers use over 2GB.  So…. we are all sitting here asking ourselves “Why the big change, then?”.  At least the NYT got it right when they focused on data gridlock as the major cause behind these changes.  This is one of many AT&T attempts dissuade subscribers from high data usage over the 3G network.  Last week saw AT&T’s announcement that subscribers would now be able to access free Wi-Fi in Times Square (one of the areas that experience huge data traffic problems.  Here’s my question: If AT&T says no longer offering unlimited data will only really affect less than 2% of subscribers – how is it going to help their data gridlock issue?  If we are to believe that what AT&T is saying is true – we will have to believe that the majority of subscribers will be using the same amount of data – therefore not affecting the data gridlock issue at all.

Subscribers will have the option of grandfathering into their existing unlimited data plan – but, again, the new tethering feature will only be available to DataPro subscribers.  So, simply – no new plan = no tethering.

The New York Times predicts that this recent announcement by AT&T is just the beginning and that putting a cap on data usage will be picked up by other carriers in the cellular industry.

Here are some user comments from Boston.com reporting on the AT&T plan changes:

Have fun Iphone users. If you think you’re not going to go over the minimum cap you’re fooling yourselves. This should be interesting when the numbers start to be revealed and the uproar that will come with it. Ha! – Casa

So it’s official… Once my contract is up I’m switching from my Iphone to an Android phone. Thanks Apple for changing the smartphone game, but others have caught up. Just look at the HTC Incredible on Verizon for example – wintyb

It’s funny to me that AT&T is justifying the plan change due to “congestion” in heavily concentrated areas of iPhone users. Yet, they are not changing the plan for existing users. So, unless they think the existing users are going to start using their phones less, how does this “fix” the problem as opposed to just fleecing new users?

Maybe the intent is to deter new users from getting iPhones so that the congestion levels stay consistent. Way to attract more users AT&T.

They know the phones are getting cheaper so more people will be signing up and they found a way to get more money out of them…

Let’s see if they get vilified like Verizon did – cmv1971

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