What do you think of AT&T's new iPhone data rates?

What do you think of AT&T's new iPhone data rates? Let us know in the pole above, and let us know how much data you're currently using in the comments, and whether you think you'd save or lose out under the new plan.

Also, let us know if this is enough to make you consider leaving AT&T, and/or if you're worried Verizon and the other carriers will follow suit with data caps and tiers.

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

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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What do you think of AT&T's new iPhone data rates?


Honestly - this follows suit with every other country in the world. I've wanted tiered data forever. To me, this is the responsible way for AT&T to handle the congestion on their network, and benefiting a huge majority of their users. To me, I don't think it has ever been fair for 1 person to pay 30$ for a couple hundred MB's of data while the next guy pays the same for over 6GB of data.
I think they should have a plan over 2GB but for the most part, I think this is a smart move for most end-consumers. A small minority that stream a ridiculous amount of data will be upset by this.

I think it was only a matter of time until they did this anyway. I think the 2gb plan should have been 5gb like Sprint - but what do I know?!
I am happy though b/c people that barely use their data (my sister, in particular) will be able to save $15 a month, which is important to her. I, on average, use 1-1.5gb/m so I'm okay with it - however, if I was a 4gb/m user... I'd be pissed, to say the least.

I'll agree with you. But I do think they should have one more plan higher than 2GB. I think the 2GB plan should have clocked in at 20$/month and then maybe a plan for 30$/month that contains 4-5GB.
Then maybe have a 45$/month plan that has 5-7GB with free tethering. That would have been ideal, but AT&T (or any carrier for that matter), is never ideal.

I would like them if they kept the $30 unlimited plan. Then the new plans would be just adding choice, which is great for consumers. But they're giving us 2 choices while taking a 3rd choice off the table. My wife and I both use probably < 250 MB of data a month, so I should like the plans, except that I want the option to use more (change my usage habits) if I want to. Also, wife is still on original iPhone plan (using unlocked iPhone 3G now), so there's no incentive to switch ($20 for unlimited data + 200 texts).
AT&T could sweeten the deal by including some texts with the 2 new plans.
Not sure what I'm going to do. Dying to ditch AT&T but don't know how. Wonder if Verizon will be capping their plans next.

I'm staying with my unlimited plan and running out an getting an ipad so I can get the unlimited plan on it. With more and more streaming being released on 3g it will save me money in the long run!

No problem for me, I'm on wifi 90% of the time.
Will be saving $15/month per iPhone in my account.

Doesn't really affect me since the unlimited plan is being kept for existing costumers, though I do think even that will disappear in about a year or so. I agree that having a 5GB option would be nice (and tethering added to that would be an additional bonus).

@Allyson agree with all your points. I use less than 500 MB a month due to Wifi availability and could benefit from a cheaper plan. Only a very few vocal minority will be negatively effected by this - and soon other carriers like Verizon will most likely follow suit so unless you want a second teir carrier like Sprint this is what you are going to have to deal with. However for me I will probably keep my grandfathered unlimited plan just in case.

@Allyson Kazmucha
I'm definitely with you on that one. The additional tiered plans you mentioned could have helped benefit the customers even more... yet that's not always the goal of some of these companies. $45/month would have been awesome for certain people with tethering - especially for the iPad/netbooks.
@Rosie Palms
In all honesty, all of you that are over the 3+gb/m range - what are you doing on your phones?! What kind of usage are you clocking?

I don't understand how these plans are good for power users. Does anyone have a Slingbox, the MLB app with video? How many people will get the Netflix app when it becomes available? You will use WAY more than 2 or 3 GB per month. Since the Slingbox became available 3G my data usage has never been under 5gb.
I'm fine with lesser plans for folks who use less data, this is great news for them. But for power users like myself this is a joke.

I am sure $25 for 2GB will do for me but it has more to do with the psychological factor. I prefer to pay $30 and not to think about anything when I am using it. I think this might be another way to make people hold to purchase 3GS iPhone until 4G comes out - the worst case is when people buy 3GS now with this plan. I switched to iPhone from Verizon in March. At least, my plan with unlimited data plan will last until this contract end... Always wonder why cell plans are far more complicated than land lines.

All the carriers are going to go to plans like this. The 2gb plan works for me, and it'll save me $5 a month. Don't know if I'll go for the tethering or keep the Virgin Broadband2Go (On Sprint's EVDO network) that I'm using now.

I always thought of myself as a "power user" because I use data quite a lot (WiFi at home as much as possible), yet my account history shows that I've not exceeded 1GB in any of the last six months. I think most people will find themselves in the same boat.

Jeff, are you sure, I just used this online calculator and it says 3,577,939kb equals
29,310,476,288 .......... bits
3,663,809,536 .......... bytes
3,577,939 .......... kilobytes
3,494.0810546875 megabytes
3.4121885299 gigabytes
0.0033322153 terabytes
0.0000032541 petabytes
0.0000000031 exabytes

Just wondering if this might give AT&T some incentive to push unlimited data plan/lower ETF customers to a new plan by offering the iPhone 4g at new contract price? For instance I have a 09/2011 expiration but really want a 4g. What do you guys think? Any chance?

I just hope that Apple comes out with some sort of BBM like blackberry. Because this all wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't for we are still paying 20 a month for unlimited text. That's ridiculous. Doesn't the text use data?

@Jeff- you're off by a factor of 1000x. She's reporting KB not bytes. @Christinschu's usage is ~3.4GB

I'm with BrianFTC, it is more of a psychological thing for me. I'm pretty sure that both my wife and I use under 2GB per line per month, as most of our streaming YouTube watching is when we're around a wireless point.
However, I would prefer just to pay a certain amount and not have to worry about it. If AT&T would just add another plan above the 2GB per month (like 5GB, for example) it would probably be fine, but I came in pretty close to 2GB last month, even though I was under, so it makes me nervous and I dread the thought of constantly monitoring my usage to apease AT&T.

One thing people are misinterpreting is the fact that AT&T's press release DOES NOT say existing customers get to keep Unlimited data, it says existing contracts get to keep unlimited data. Therefore we will all be forced into a new plan within 2 years or sooner as we upgrade phones.

New ETFs...no more unlimited data...I'm sure glad I'm grandfathered in and don't have to follow these new changes...AT&T is making themselves less and less attractive..they're lucky to have the iPhone if not they would of been bankrupt by now!!!

@Desmond...great point. Charges for text messaging is one of the industry's biggest scams. These messages barely use any data whatsover. A classic example of wireless bully trying to cry about data usage while sticking it to customers with texting at the same time.

Dyvim, thank you! I really needed to get that straight before I considered my data usage.
I don't do anything outrageous on my phone. INfact, I don't understand how someone DOESN"T use GBs of data. I use the internet alll the time, google maps, I download music directly to my phone, I check facebook quite frequently. I never use youtube or stream video of any kind. I guess I'm just on the internet ALOT! But that is WHY I bought my iPhone. I dont appreciate being called a data hog.

My usage has been on the rise over the course of the last 6 months. This past billing period I used 1.5gb of data. While that presently puts me under the 2gb cap, I fear that with more functionality in OS 4 I'll soon be using more.
Way to overpromise and underdeliver AT&T.

funny thing is I only use about 200 minutes of voice a month. Not that I can use more voice minutes as I NEVER get good reception here in NYC.

I don't for an instant believe that AT&T is walking away from $5/month on 98% of their subscribers. AT&T is in the business to MAKE money, not LOSE it.
I believe they'll be cashing in on $35+/month from the majority of their subscribers.
Shame on you AT&T

Reviewing all my old phone bills. 1 month my wife used 1.7MB of data and 0 minutes! WTF! My wife has never exceeded 200 MB in 2.5y of having an iPhone, although she has gotten close. I'm usually under 200 MB and have never gone over 600 MB, but I've exceeded 200 (and 400) MB often enough that I'd save money on the $25 plan over the $15 plan. I'd switch my wife but she's still on the original iPhone plan ($20/mo for unlimited + texts), so I won't be doing that.

im one who falls right in-between the 200mb and 2Gb... Im right on the line of using 175,000kb to about 300,000kb on a monthly basis... It makes me frustrated because now im going to worry that i go over and im going to get charged an extra $15 when i could have just paid $25 and saved $5 that month...

I've had my smartphone for a year. I use wi-fi a lot, so my highest network data usage for a month is only 76 MB, with most months way below that. So I switched to the $15 plan today. Even if I double my busiest month (which is very unlikely), I'll be under the limit. And if I go over the limit, I'll only pay another $15, or $30 total for that month, which I pay now every month. So this change is good for me. Why should I pay the same as someone who uses 500 times the data I do?

I never hit 1GB of memory in a month. I might consider switching to the DataPlus Pro plan and save a little cash, it all depends on how things turn out with the new iPhone really.

I picked Other. I don't hate the plans, but will probably keep my unlimited plan just because. I'm averaging around 300MB a month.

Calculating error in my above post. I should have said "Why should I pay the same as someone who uses 100 times the data I do?" instead of "500 times". But the principle is still valid. You can debate the specifics of the new pricing structure. But it's pretty reasonable, IMO, that such a wide disparity of usage amounts by customers on a network with a finite amount of bandwith (however much they can increase capacity), should have a tiered pricing structure.

This is AT&T's way of saying "just because you can stream over 3G, doesn't mean tou should."
I also find it disturbing that we are not sure how 4.0 and the new iPhone are going to affect data usage.

Just when I am adding a second iPhone and a family plan, they do this! Arrrgghhhh! However, in 10 months I've used 13.4GB of data, even with streaming music. I hate it, but AT&T probably does understand there market. Bad PR, though. Bad PR.

I'm off two minds on this, I haven't been on contract for 5 years now I just buy my iPhone for full price. I do this because I don't want a data plan when I spend 90% of my day in Wifi. If they have a $15 plan it's small enough that I would consider getting the 4th Gen iPhone on contract. However unless I read it wrong I think it said $15 for 200MB and if you go over you pay another $15 for additional 200MB. Now if users are currently paying $30 for unlimited/5GB and there's the $25 2GB plan why would you pay $30 for 400MB?? In Canada at Rogers you can start with the 250MB plan and if you go over they automatically bump you up to the 5GB $35 plan for that month.

This isn't about giving customers what they want. This is about AT&T trying to make up for their busted network. I just the 5 month usage for myself, my wife, and my daughter. The $15 plan is a joke. Neither my wife nor my daughter are "Power Users". Heck. My daughters phone didn't even have her phone during school hours and my wife is a nurse so she has no time/access to use her internet during the day and both of them average about 300MB a month.
For the most part the $15 plan won't even suit the most basic of iPhone users. And the $25 plan is an insult. It's not enough to even make me feel like I am really saving anything vs. "Am I going to over" stress. The $15 plan is there so that people will go think that AT&T is providing its customers options when in reality very few people can make due with 200MB a month. On top of that if they were trying to meet the needs of their customers, they would still be offering an All You Can Eat plan. $15 @ 1GB, $25 @ 2GB and $35 @ Unlimited would have been more customer oriented. It would have helped them reign in their network issues AND provided value to customers based on their needs respectively.

I can understand your frustration to a point.. but saving $15 a month between you three is nothing to scoff at.. also, although you don't believe people use less then 200mb, if you read on here, many people do.. so its not really a slap in the face, it just doesn't work for you.. that sucks.. but at least you can save money.. and if you don't want to save, stay with what you have.. you're grandfathered in.

Your post (#1 above) says it all.
Tiers are fine by me.
Anyone pulling more than 2 gigs will now start paying their fair share.

Could someone clarify what that means for current plan holders and the tethering option? Is it going to be $20 extra regardless? I would just like to tether my wifi ipad to my iphone from time to time because my schools network access is so buggy I cant use the ipad on it. Only my iphone

I think that this a great way to control the data problem on at&t's network, as well as bringing more value to the consumer. As far as I go, I only have wi-fi at home, so I'm going to keep track of my usage, and if I fit below 2 GBs per month, then I'll gladly step down and save $5 per month!

While I appreciate the lower price options, having unlimited data was just PIECE OF MIND. For $30, I don't have to think twice about watching YouTube or streaming Pandora on the go. Now, you have only a few tiny opportunities to enjoy media and lengthy, full web browsing on the go. Sad.
What I'm wondering is, the price plan change reports say data CAP -- but it also references being in the situation of overages. If 200MB is all I want, and I plan on using it till it runs out, can I configure "no chargeable data" on my account, which would disable internet use after I use up my plan?
And what about the fact that I have a BlackBerry with AT&T at the moment? When I upgrade to the new iPhone, am I purchasing with NEW data terms?

I understand and agree to a point. I just think that the $15 plan is being made available more for an Aesthetics purpose than a true user value purpose. I wonder what the percentage of users that stay under 200MB a month is? Pretty small I bet. I bet the 200 - 500MB users make up a significantly larger percentage, but all those users will just have to go to the $25 plan. I just think AT&T had the chance to set plans that scaled for their users a better.

how do you guys gauge your usage? is this from att or the iphone? I have an iphone on tmobile and honestly ive never been told how much data im using month to month?

If my data plan says unlimited or 5gb and I pay for this plan, how do you figure I'm not paying for my fair share if I use it according to the terms of the agreement?

This another ploy by AT&T to make more money. The difference in costs to AT&T between 2GB and 5GB is minimal.

To anyone who voted, "I'm going to another carrier", good luck with that. Everyone will be going to this model.

Doesn't affect me one bit.. I'll b keeping my unlimited plan and I tether for free on my jailbroken phone.. :)

@ gqualglia
I can see verizon moving in that direction, but methinks sprint and tmobile will keep their low-cost "unlimited" data plans.

I'm keeping my plan but I really doubt over 600 people use more then 2GB. Unless your jailbroke I don't see how you can use even 1GB.

Kyle - you don't have to guess. Login to your account on AT&T and it's has a section for viewing past data usage. The graph shows usage for every month. I'll bet you that you're nowhere NEAR 2GBs in any given month.
ed - since you aren't on AT&T, go into settings -> General -> Usage and click reset statistics. Check it at the end of the month and see how much data you used.


If my data plan says unlimited or 5gb and I pay for this plan, how do you figure I’m not paying for my fair share if I use it according to the terms of the agreement?

Oh, come on now! You know very well (or you should know) that plans are priced on AVERAGE expected usage. You know, or should know, that it has been this way since the days of dial-up modems. You know, or should know this is also true of cable modem industry, water distribution systems, curbside garbage pickup, and any other industry where there is a shared resource.
Companies price a bandwidth allotment based on the AVERAGE expected usage from their whole customer base. Those 2% of high bandwidth users pull the price up for everyone.
The closer you get to usage-based billing the fairer the billing model. But record keeping, bill uncertainty, and dealing with disputes over small variations it a big enough hassle that many industries try a one-size-fits-all plan.
And in every industry that tried to offer unlimited Anything, sooner or later ends up with some approximation of metering.
So, in the bluntest possible terms, you never paid for what you used. You always paid for the AVERAGE usage.
Use MORE than average and you get subsidized by the rest of the customer base. Its an AVERAGE. Use less than average and you subsidize others. Its an AVERAGE.
Its not a vendetta against you. Its just AT&T trying to lesson the burden of the low bandwidth users who were paying way too much. Too much because they were AVERAGED in with high bandwidth users who tether, or have no wifi, or are too lazy to turn on wifi, and insist on streaming 24/7.
You NEVER paid for unlimited. You paid for the AVERAGE.


Unless your jailbroke I don’t see how you can use even 1GB.

I spent a month driving around the US. I was amazed that I broke one Gig that month. That's like 5 time my normal, and the only time in 2 years I ever went over a gig. I don't stream much of anything, just download a few pod casts, surf the web, and lots of email.
Reason I went over a gig: I never used wifi for the whole month. Normally, at home or at the office, the phone latches onto my wifi.
I suspect a lot of high bandwidth people never use WIFI, even when its free.
I suspect its not too hard to break 1 gig if you never have wifi

Everyone needs to understand that AT&T is doing this for the future. When 4G network rolls out on their network, those on this 2G data plan will be wishing they kept their unlimited data plan. AT&T is fully aware of the future bandwidth and is preparing to make more money off of subscribers by omitting why they are "lowering the price," which is to make you pay more in the future, because you won't have your unlimited data plan. What company do you know in the US want's to make anything more affordable and cheaper without a side-effect? Think about the future people and whether you'll need your unlimited data plan.

Let me tell you something! You cheap bastards. I want to keep my unlimited data ok go save you freaking $5.00 somewhere else.

icebike, honestly do you think the average user realizes that they are "paying for the average"? NO, what they know is what they were explained upon signing a contract with your service provider, most people understand 'Unlimited' to be Unlimited.
2GB is unacceptable for me, I blow through that in a matter of hours with my current usage, and I find no problem with the fact that I used ~13GB of data last month, because I have an 'Unlimited' data plan, not the "paying for the average" plan.

I don't mind the new pricing plans. Only once did I exceed 2GB (2.2) and that was because I watched a few hockey games while traveling via Slingbox. BFD, I'd have paid $35 ($10 more) that month while saving $100 the other 11 months under the new pricing.
My wife rarely exceeds 200MB.
What I don't like about the new plans...
$20 for tethering. $20 for nothing? Are you serious?
How are more people not livid about this? It's a total insult to charge $20 for tethering when you're already paying for fixed data.
It made sense on unlimited, but not on limited.
AT&T thinks..no knows, we're all stupid.

Here is something AT&T might not be thinking about. Our Fortune 500 company REQUIRES unlimited data plans. Why? Because overage cost way way way more than any cost of the unlimited plan. We're saving millions. If they remove the unlimited plans and its required, that means there are 26,000+ potential employees who will not be able to own AT&T phones any longer... so unless the iPhone comes out on another carrier you can say bye-bye to the iPhone for our company. Just when it was starting to get a strong foothold, AT&T pulls the rug out.

The timing of this announcement makes sense, given that next week's iPhone event will most certainly mention tethering and video calling.

My first reaction was that I wouldn't like it. I consider myself to be a pretty heavy user. Granted, I am not streaming pandora all day like some people I know, but I am a frequent YouTube watcher, and I have been known to steam a movie using AirVideo from time to time. For giggles j decided to check my last months bill to see exactly how much data I consume. I was surprised to see it was only 1.2gb. I thought that maybe this was an off month, as I have been leaning on my iPad a lot during the last month. So I checked the prior month. 1.1gb. I checked the last six months, and my heaviest month was 1.4Gb.
I know that it is popular to beat up on AT&T these days, and far be it from me to be their defenders. That said, I consider myself a power user, and I haven't gone above 2gb to my knowledge. I can only imagine what people are doing that are pumping over 5gb a month.

Oh please! That's still a considerably better deal than Rogers customers in Canada get. Heck, Rogers never had an unlimited option for their smartphone data plans. The lowest data plan is $15 and that is only for basic e-mail and/or social networking, and their $25 plan only gives you 500 MB.

AT&T just lowered the bar. Others may not have an unlimited but it's twice as much data for the same price or in some cases it's cheaper. Some how AT&T will need to convince why their 2 gigs is worth the same price as other carriers 5 gigs.

This is a step in the WRONG direction. We live in a world where a larger percentage of our lives are dependant on "data" that is transfered in multiple formats. Changing your plan to INCREASE your customers risk of overages isn't "customer friendly". Look at airlines with the bag & other "fees". The companies that nickle n dime you are the companies that lose in the end. For those of you that think 2GB is on the high end & that the average customer won't accumulate overage charges, you are allowed less than 70MB/Day. 70MB is equal to, roughly, 12 songs in MP3 format ... so downloading a CD off of iTunes would take 1 days worth of your average alloted usage. The applications are from 3-5MB in size, emails without attachments are around 10-100K, & surfing the internet can jack up the ammount of data transfered quickly. Plenty of websites are over 1MB of images PER PAGE ... So if you Download a CD a month, have on average 20 emails a day (even junk email counts), & follow up on a couple websites a day, you will be paying MORE with AT&T's new "price cut" on their plans ... I'll be so glad when my contract is up & I can leave that carrier for good. I don't care that they are the exclusive provider for iPhone... I am done with AT&T

I didn't have home internet for about 5 months or so and I would just tether off of my Nexus One on T-Mobile. I used 9 gigabytes a month, I suppose people wont be doing this for cheap on AT&T!

Too Little, too late...
I could have used tethering a year ago when traveling. I have since gotten a mifi solution in place, and have no interest in tethering for an additional $20, especially if it eats off the same 2GB cap that the data plan is tied to.
I'l be sticking with the current plan


I think those that think this new tiered plan is no big deal, or is OK aren't looking at the big picture. If 98% of smartphone users use less that 2GB of data, then what's the problem? They should leave the $30 unlimited plan alone...then those who want to downgrade for less $ can do so. Do you really want to go back to counting minutes, like in the early days of cellular? I'll pay a premium just so I don't have to worry about a ticking clock! The iPad shouldn't be compared to smartphones BTW! What a rip to those who bought the 3G iPad under the impression the unlimited plan was in effect. I know they're grandfathering people in...but let's see how long that lasts!

I have the unlimited plan and an iphone 3Gs. I use roughly 20 gigs a month. My apartment doesn't have a land-line phone, the cable is controlled by my landlord and i can't get cable internet, and so my iphone with tethering is my primary internet connection. I often torrent programs, movies, and music, stream media, video chat, transfer files, etc. I need unlimited data. I bought an iphone because i could tether unlimited data at roughly 300 Kbps. AT&T told me i had unlimited data, so i use as much as i need because i cannot just GET wifi. if they try to kick me off my unlimited plan in the future, i'll have to switch to another carrier. Using 20 gigs a month doesn't make me a bad guy who drives up the price. It makes me a smart shopper who gets the most out of what he pays for.