AT&T (NYSE: T) is getting out of the unlimited data business for smartphones, pitching it as a way for most users to save money. They are replacing the old $30 monthly plan with unlimited usage with new plans that cost less — $15 for the DataPlus 200 MB a month, $25 for DataPro 2 GB — and include access to AT&T’s 20,000-plus WiFi hotspot network as encouragement to use WiFi for data. Current users can keep their unlimited plans when the changes take effect June 7.
Tethering to smartphones — including the iPhone when the new OS4 comes out this summer — requires a DataPro plan and an additional $20 a month. It’s not clear whether existing unlimited plan customers will be able to tether or if it will require stepping down to that plan.
Each plan comes with automatic additions for overuse, a kind of data overdraft protection: DataPro plan subs get 1 GB at $10, DataPlus includes an automatic additional 200 MB for $15. AT&T says 65 percent of its smartphone data subs use less than 200 MB a month; 98 percent use less than 2 GB. AT&T has made it very easy to gauge data use with bar charts that show the last few months at a glance. I’ve averaged 1 GB the past couple of months but I don’t watch a lot of video on my iPhone. The other iPhone user in my house hasn’t been higher than 50 MBs in the past few months.