AT&T secretly offering unlimited data to stop Verizon iPhone switchers?

Associated Press is reporting that AT&T is allowing some customers who previously had unlimited data plans for iPhone to change back to unlimited in order to prevent their switching to the Verizon iPhone.

Jose Argumedo, of Brentwood, N.Y., says he and a friend were switched to an unlimited plan recently after they called AT&T's customer service. Both have iPhone 4s, and previously had iPhones.

Verizon is offering unlimited data as a lure to get AT&T customers to switch over. AT&T wouldn't confirm any plan-matching was going on so if you call up and give it a try, let us know what happens!


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

AT&T secretly offering unlimited data to stop Verizon iPhone switchers?


No it's not true att even made it where the management cannot add the plan. AT&T is firm once you change to limited data plan you are stuck with it.

Thats awesome for people that want it.... wait customers who previously had unlimited data plans for iPhone to switch back to unlimited!?? That would mean that them people had switched to a tiered plan and wanted their unlimited back. Iv'e had unlimited since 2g and still have it today. Guess for the people like myself that are not switching to big red are going to get the hotspot for $20 as well.

I will keep the unlimited plan until they take it away. That is the ONLY way I will get rid of it. I would love to have the tether option, but not enough to "upgrade" my plan and lose my unlimited!

I'm with Doo Dah. AT&T is practically forcing me to jailbreak and get this MyWi hotspur thing. I would pay SOMETHING (less than $20 though) if I could keep unlimited and add tethering/hotspot functionality.

Just JB and do it. MyWi works great for a one-time $20. MyWi and SBSettings w/RemoveBG are the only real reasons I JB my iPhones. The rest is mostly fluff.

Ok folks this is how you get your unlimited data plan back. I work for at&t and have done this to a lot of customers already.

  1. Get ahold of an iphone 2G
  2. Call customer service and give them a dummy IMEI so it removes you not unlimited data plan and puts you in pay per use.
  3. Put your active at&t simcard into the iphone 2G
  4. Plug it into itunes and follow the steps on activating it on your account
  5. It will automatically choose the $20 unlimited data plan for your iphone 2G and wil ask for text messaging package just select NONE and continue.
  6. Once the iphone 2G is completely activated on your number put the simcard you have back to your iphone 3G/S. Then wait a few hours or minutes to call at&t and give them your IMEI for your iphone 3G/S/4

FYI if you have an iphone 4 it obvious you will need two extra simcards that aren't activated because once you do this process it will automatically deactivate your micro simcard. The regular simcard will be for the iphone 2G and a micro simcard for the iphone 4 these are free from corporate at&t stores.

Jon, that whole process makes sense, but why do you have to call AT&T back to give them the IMEI for the iPhone 3G/s/4? Would it work just the same without ever calling them?

I work for AT&T too. I wonder how long it takes for you to get fired? That's "Proprietary Info". Haha.

I was just thinking about the fact he said he worked for att that it shouldn't be something he is telling. Hopefully he's not writing that from work pc.

What's so funny to watch about this exercise in lunacy, is that IF YOU DO SWITCH, then you gotta buy a new phone that will be REPLACED by a next gen iPhone in two-three months... but you're stuck for two years with Vegemite-zon.. How idiotic is that???

I can vouch that this is true. I called last week to cancel and told them I was switching to Verizon because of their unlimited data plan.
Within 2 hours, my data was back to being unlimited.

It makes me chuckle when people call the iPhone 4 the "iPhone 4G". Seriously, stop watching so much TV...

Yes it's true. i personally switched two of my iPhone 4 to the $30 unlimited data , which is what both iPhone 3G's on in Nov 2009 and February 2010. I have been a 5 Line subscriber for 5 years. Called 611 and 24 minutes later, Done and a very pleasant rep too

I just did it. Took a few minutes for her to look into my old plan, but not really an issue. Only bad thin is it is $30/mo instead of $20 like the Iphone 2g, but got it!

if you switched to 2gb data to save the 5 dollars your a fool. Yes even if you dont use it cause who knows down the line how much you will lose. ATT is charging twice as much and you people think your saving 5 dollars a month. ATT will tell you you are saving but they just raised your rates by 100%. i have never went over 1.2 gb but i would never switch who knows what iphone 5 will offer. These big companies want people that arent smart to think they are saving money. Let me break it down for you. Lets assume for number purposes unlimited data is 5gb (numbers are easy to understand in 5s for you people who dont think) you are getting 5 gb for 30 a month (30\5=6) you are paying 6 bucks per gig a month. Now to the 2gb plan where you save 5 bucks. (25/2=12.5) you are paying 12.5 for the same data per month thats more then 100% increase for the same data. if att was for the customer 2gb would cost 12 bucks if the rates were the same but you get for 15 dollars 250 mb. What a scam.

thats how much you will use not lose although you will be losing money. lets face it companies do things to help them the companies not you the consumer

I suspect this is one of those things that's handled on a case-by-case basis. If you're a long-time ATT customer who spends a lot of money with them and have sterling credit, you're probably much more likely to get a deal than a marginal customer. Just a guess.

True. I think much of it has to do with time you have been with them. I have often been late on my bill being a recently poor broke college student, but I have had At&t since 2000. I have only once had a bad experience with them. Most of the time if I am direct and explain my situation, or what I'm looking for and its reasonable, they help me out. I have an unlimited plan and have no intention of giving it up. I jailbroke once for tethering. Once I get an Ipad I'll probably do it again. I have more than paid my dues to truly have unlimited data when they say unlimited data.

Actually it does matter. The rep can see all of that not to mention a (more or less) rating of how good of a customer you are. Its all at the consumerist website.

These unlimited data plans won't last for long. We will all be kicked off once AT&T and Verizon switch over to LTE. I'm sure our current unlimited plans won't carry over. People will be burning through way more data w/ the increase of data transfer.
I'm tired of all these people who defend their carrier, like they made the iPhone. Just pick the one that works for your area and shut up!

and AT&T users thought the network was going to be better when the Verizon iPhone arrived LOL Now with people not jumping ship and upgrading back to the unlimited plan, crawl network crawl good AT&T now sit!

If someone switches to unlimited AND gets tethering, please post. I never dropped my unlimited, but I'm interested in the hotspot feature. Right now, you can't tether unless you drop unlimited. Ideally, I want to jailbreak and tether for free. But until a 4.2.1 JB is released, my only option is to pay...

AT&T actually switch me back to unlimited data plan that I use to have with no problem. They were very nice and did it right away. Thanks AT&T.

I've called twice. Both times the rep's told me there was no info in there systems showing unlimited being offered again. Hell the second rep I spoke with didn't even know Verizon was gong to even be offering the unlimited option.
I have two iPhone's on my account. My line has the unlimited data plan and the second line had unlimited but due to a mistake on AT&T's part that line got dropped to 2GB data plan.
Can anyone help me get unlimited back on that line, as that person really wants his unlimited back!!??

just called att and it worked for me. they switched me back, she had me on hold for a real long time. but she got me on it.

I love Georgia's Star Wars reference Darth Vader as the iPhone and AT&T as the Death Star simply awesome

The golden goose is the iPhone 2G. As a new AT&T subscriber, plug that phone into iTunes first and watch what data plan you can pick. interesting isn't it then go to AT&T, pick up your new iPhone 4, and enjoy unlimited data. AT&T employees keep iPhone 2G behind the register sometimes just for this purpose. Just another method for anyone who doesn't have the long time customer loyalty. :)

They are doing this with all of the phones. If you previously had unlimited and upgraded losing it, just call them and ask them to revert it. My mom did this for her phone, I did it for mine. They had to "elevate" the issue but there was no other problem from that.

Have unlimited already, but asked retentions if they could add the $20 tethering without losing the unlimited option and the answer was no. Interestingly, the rep tried to explain "physics" (her words, and it was humorous to listen to as she knew nothing about what she was talking about) to me on why AT&T has a better signal than Verizon and that you can talk and use internet on AT&T. She completely changed the subject and just tried to convince me to stay AT&T, but couldn't offer to actually do anything. I guess it's who you speak with as to whether you get anywhere with them.

So, I joined AT&T when the iPhone 4 launched - so I never had the unlimited data plan, but I'm on a business account (with a FAN linked and all of that). Does anyone think I might have a chance in getting the unlimited?

I switched to the iPhone 4 from a BlackBerry Bold 9000 in July. I had unlimited data since the 2G iPhone. When I switched to the iPhone 4 the guy at the store switched me to the 2gb data plan. I called AT&T and told them that I wanted unlimited, but they said no. When i mentioned that I previously had it with my old iPhones and my BlackBerry they said ok, since I already had unlimited on the BlackBerry they could "grandfather" my plan in. I didn't have to threaten or fight them for it.

AT&T sucks switching to verizon just waiting for iPhone 5. It's not so much the unlimited plan, but the network is simply better. And reportedly iPhone 5 will hold the technology for a chip that will do CDMA and gsm. I'm sure at that point ppl on AT&T that want to switch will not give a damn about the price of dropping said network for verizon. Bc they can keep their phone for the switch. Brilliant apple!

Just tried my hand with Att on this I have 2 lines one with unlimited data and a newer without. I played all my cards right with them, and didn't even threaten to leave I told them to cancel me! and they wouldn't budge ! the initial rep was tellin me I would be able to get the unlimited plan but when they put me through to the "save rep" or whatever he was called he wouldnt offer at all. He only tried to deter me away fm cancelation by putting out numbers on how much I would loose in regards to spending. That was my luck I might try them again hopefully anyone else has better luck.

So I switched to AT&T when I got the iPhone 4 (first iPhone). My only option was the 2 GB plan (or the 200 MB plan, but really, that's not even an option).
So has anyone in the same boat been able to upgrade to an unlimited plan?

I came to AT&T in July, when there was no unlimited plan, and told them I want to cancel because verizon is going to have an unlimited plan, and they switched me to unlimited. Please note, I followed the auto prompts to the cancellation dept.

I called twice both times spoke to managers and both times was told does not exist. Was told they are releasing wired teathering for customers whom have the unlimited data for 45dollars

They told me that they would have to file a claim and that it seems a third party would contact me around Fed 7th! Told me that after being on hold for a while. Not sure if that will give me unlimited. But I did have it before so I'm hoping for the best.

I just called ATT and was just very nonchalant about the whole thing. This is how the conversation went. (I also followed the prompts to the cancellation department)
Me: yes I'd just like to know how much in total for all 4 lines I'd need to pay to cancel my account.
ATT: I can look that up for you, may I ask why you're considering canceling?
Me: well, I had the unlimited data plan, I was one of the grandfathered plans, but I downgraded to the $15 for 200 MB for two iPhones to save $30 a month because we didn't need all that data, now things have changed and my wife and I are going to college soon and will be using data A LOT and I'd like to take advantage of Verizon's unlimited data plan while I can.
ATT: ok, you'd need to pay $255 for the two iPhone lines then $80 for the two other lines.
(At this point it seemed I wasn't going to get anywhere so I prompted them.
Me: do you think there's a way they'd be willing to let me go back to unlimited because of our situation? (take into account this is a true situation, we really are going to start using it a lot utilizing tethering, I wasn't dishonest)
ATT: yeah, we'll see what we can do can I place you on hold?
(I then held about 10 min. and then they came back)
ATT: ok, we have to open up a case and we'll have an answer for you by Feb. 8.
So fingers crossed, but I would consider asking ATT first because that really is the only reason I'd leave ATT is for the unlimited. If they're willing to let me have it back, I'm happy with the service. They took my notes and gave details about my wife and I going to college, so hopefully the person that "reviews" the case will have a heart for us and allow us to have it back. I don't really want to pay the cancellation fee, but I'll do it for unlimited data.

I've still got the unlimited data from before. I've got a bad feeling that upgrading to the iPhone 5 is going to force me down to the 2GB plan (It is a new contract after all). Hopefully they'll offer hotspot for cheap to compete with Verizon. On a side note, I bought the iPhone 4 on day one and just checked my upgrade date, which came back as 6/25/11. I guess that means AT&T will be offering free iPhone upgrades again this year! Yay!

I have only had att since August, and have been late at paying my bills a couple of times.
I called, asked how much it would cost to cancel... The rep said 275... I said ok.
She asked why I would cancel... I told her Verizon has unlimited data. She said why don't you just switch to iPhone unlimited data with us...
It was very easy.
Again, I never had unlimited but do now. :)

How does this make sense? In the above quote it said they had previous iPhones before their iPhone 4. That means they must have had the unlimited data plan before, and At&t allowed people to keep their unlimited plan and grandfather it in when they upgraded to an iPhone 4 instead of having to choose the limited data plans.
This only makes sense for those people who switched to a different device other than the iPhone and then decided to get an iPhone 4. That's when you can't get your unlimited plan back, the example claim in the article isn't valid.

Putting your sceme ideas on a message board isnt the best idea because a rep is bound to come along, read this, and the next person who calls up with this sceme is going to be met with quite a bit of opposition from the rep/manager. Why you ask? Well first of all you're the one who dropped your data plan in the first place. Second whats to stop new customers from whining "well thats not fair" no i have a feeling now that all of this has been published this is going to stop very soon. If at&t planned to allow everyone to have unlimited data they that the "higher ups" know reps/managers are doing this i assure you they will put an end to it soon.