AT&T announces new shared data plans

AT&T this morning announced new shared data plans for iPhone, iPad, and other devices. The new plans launch in August, and will be available in addition to existing, individual plans. David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility said in a statement included in the announcement:

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. Our Mobile Share plans are simple, easy and a great value for individuals or families with multiple mobile Internet devices.”

Depending on what you currently pay for data, and how many devices you have in your household, it could indeed be a better value than traditional per-device plans. However, the new plans are still far from really simple -- rather than a flat rate for a bucket of data, once you've picked the size of your data bucket, you then have to pay an additional fee per device. The bigger your data bucket, the lower your per smartphone fee, but dumbphones, computers, and tablets each have a static per-device fee. Phew.

Here's how AT&T breaks them down:

So let's say you have a family of 4 with 2 iPhone, 2 iPads, 2 messenger phones for the kids, and a data stick for a MacBook, and you're light data users, here's your math (turns sideways...):

  • $120 for 10GB + ($30 x 2 smartphones) + ($30 x 2 dumbphones) + ($20 x 1 laptop) + ($10 x 2 tablets) = $320 a month

If you're a single geek with an iPhone, Android phone, iPad, you'll tether off your other devices, and you're a heavy data user, here's your math:

  • $200 for 20GB + ($30 x 2 smartphones) + ($10 x 1 tablets) = $270 a month.

Again, not simple, but also again, it could add up to considerable savings over current, separate plans.

Here's another key bit:

Current customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension. There are no changes to AT&T’s device upgrade policy, which means customers eligible to upgrade to AT&T’s best device price are not required to switch plans. The new plans will also be available for business customers.

So AT&T won't force anyone off their existing plan and onto a shared plan, nor will they strip anyone's legacy "unlimited" plan.

Full press release below available via AT&T, below. Anyone planning on making the switch to a shared plan? If so, how much do you figure it will save you?

Source: AT&T