AT&T users can keep unlimited data plans even when upgrading to iPhone HD/iPhone 4G... unless they want tethering. (And how to check your data usage)

The good news is, existing iPhone users with the $30 unlimited data plan can keep that plan even if upgrading to the next generation iPhone HD/iPhone 4G this summer -- unless you want to tether, at which point you'll need to switch to one of the new AT&T tiered pricing data plans for smartphones.

If you're trying to decide whether or not you should make the switch, the first question that comes to mind is "how much data am I using now?" You can find out very easily from AT&T's website and TiPb is here to show you how.

  1. Login to to
  2. Select "Bill & Payments" from the "My Account" tab
  3. Click "Billing Reports" from the column on the left
  4. Choose "Data Usage Trend" as the report type and the bill periods of interest.
  5. Click "Submit"

You will then be shown a nice bar graph of your data usage by the MB. Unfortunately, data isn't available before November 2009, but this is still very helpful information when deciding on a data plan.

You can also check your usage with AT&T's myWireless iPhone application [free - iTunes link], but it will only show data usage in your current cycle. This will be especially helpful after you've chosen a plan and you want to keep track of how much of your data you've used.

It looks like I'm generally under 200 MB and I'm highly considering the $15 plan. How much data do you use? Do you want to tether? Will you switch?

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

Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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AT&T users can keep unlimited data plans even when upgrading to iPhone HD/iPhone 4G... unless they want tethering. (And how to check your data usage)


Why is my upgrade date still november 20th when many are having their dates moved to june :(

Lol just upgrade to new iPhone keep ur unlimted plan and then jailbreak it lol. And then it's party time lol with tether lol

They can find jailbroken phones and they will change your plan in the middle of your contract like they're trying to do to me they recently sent me a text that says if I continue to tether I will be charged an additional 40$ a month AND loose my unlimited... So what stops me from not tethering anymore but instead streaming movies and apps constantly while I'm awake or sleep to use more data than when I was tethering? Nothing. So AT&T wants to be stingy about 4 gb of tethering, I think I'll keep my unlimited data and stream 1000000GB of data a month. Thanks for being mature AT&T

I have tethering enabled although I only use when I have no choice which really is only when I am traveling which isn't often. Here is my usage:
Nov 210
Dec 222
Jan 227
Feb 80
Mar 536
Apr 83
May 79
Kind of all over the board but it looks like the 200MB plan is not an option. I find it had to believe that 65% of the ATT user base uses less then 200MB. I never stream music (ATT is to unreliable for that, the buffering drives me nuts), rarely tether. I mostly just browse web pages, remote control machines with VNC/RDP and read email. I do however believe that 98% uses under 2GB.

I guess I won't be switching my data plan keep my grandfather plan in and just upgrade or just buy my iPhone HD right out

I wonder how this will effect current users who tether via jailbreak or with carrier file, will they be able to determine if those users are tethering for free and how will they approach it.

@Matt they should not even know if you are using something such as MyWi. It will appear as using data. I REFUSE to switch plans to get tethering and pay twice for the same data I already paid for once.

hmmm, I've had anywhere from 3.3gb to 11gb averaging about 7gb. Higher than I would have guessed. I don't do much video streaming or downloading but I do a fair amount of music streaming during the day and at night. I also usually have wifi off to save battery life and becasue I get a lousy signal where I use the streaming music in my house. I'm sure part of this move is to get people like me to use wifi more often. Guess I'll stick with unlimited plan though...

i dont believe the plans are that awful. However i will be sticking with my unlimited plan. I dont see it being worth 5 bucks a month to possibly go over the limit. I have only gone over 2 gb one month but still. Especially with the new iphone (possible video calling , more streaming capabilities etc) the unlimited plan will probably come more in handy.
What i do find absolutely horrid is the tethering price. This rivals their new awful insurance program. Why the heck should someone how to pay 20 dollars extra for the EXACT same data. How does it make any difference is the 2gb limit is on the phone or on a laptop. Honestly , that is just complete thievery.

Everybody is referring to "existing iphone users" being about to upgrade and keep their unlimited data. What about those of us who have the same unlimited smartphone data plan for a different phone and plan to get the new iphone? Aka the blackjack 2. :P

I'm always on wifi at home & the office, same for my wife, so our usage is always below 200Mb. Could save $360/yr with the DataPlus plan but will wait until I see my usage on the new phone with features like iChat before relinquishing the grandfathered unlimited plan forever. No need to decide now.

Get there in two clicks:
1) click usage and recent activity
2) click view past data usage

Wait, so we can only add the tethering plan on, if we swap to the 2GB plan? Do you know how fast a computer can eat through 2Gigs? So is there going to be an ADDITIONAL tethering plan, or is the tethering unlimited? This is quite annoying... :-|

These articles are dumb. Think about the future... 4G networks. Don't give up you unlimited data plan.

Before everyone brings on the hate, I would ask people to follow Ermax's example and take a look to see how much data they actually use before they throw down with AT&T. I'm an avid iPhone user and I still have well under 2 gigs for the last six months. That means if I switch I save at least $5 a month on my bill, like 98% of the rest of Americans will. The only people this really impacts are those that jailbreak their phones and download massive amounts of content or tether without paying for it. Quite frankly, I'm looking forward to those people having to find some sort of alternative. That way the network gets freed up for those of us that actually pay for what we use and leaves those who essentially hijack the bandwidth for their own nefarious and selfish purposes in the dust.
I don't know if any of you folks caught what the Apple man himself pointed out in the D8 interview, but AT&T has more data traffic than all the other networks put together. For a company with that heavy a load to break down costs to the benefit of those who aren't data whores is impressive, in my opinion. It just makes sense that you pay for what you use. Why should I pay $30 a month if my usage is 200 megs or less? To make up for those who abuse the system? I don't think so. This is a smart way to do it, and I can almost guarantee that every other company will follow suit shortly, so keep that in mind before the entitlement-minded whiner brigade marches in to make their obligatory remarks about jumping ship to brand X because AT&T's the devil.

I'm seriously considering changing my plan. I checked today and I use far less data than 5GB (the 'unlimited' plan with AT&T). As for tethering? Secure, personal wifi-hotspot in hotels/hospitals FTW (as the kids say)!

Oh, and another thing:
"snakes2003g says:
June 2, 2010 at 4:52 pm
att can keep their tethering cause i won’t pay extra for something the phone should have had last year."
The smartphone tethering plan through At&t has always been $60 a month for ANY phone. The fact that they're adding the option for the iPhone now, and making it $20 above the $25 plan means you'll actually be saving about $15 over what you would've paid a year ago. Just food for thought.

@Tek, it applies for all smartphones.
...AT&T spokeswoman Sarah Andreani:
"Existing customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension. They are also not required to switch to the new plans if they renew their contract or switch to another smartphone. However, if they switch to one of the new plans, they will not be able to go back to their old unlimited plan."

Any one heard as to weather we can get these new data plan WITHOUT a phone minutes plan for those of us who only use our iPhones for data and not for calls?

Thank you Mike! I switched my phone(bj2) to the smartphone plan this morning from the old unlimited media net plan I managed to hold onto for 4 years in an attempt to be grandfathered in. Of course, we'll see what happens.

@ Nicodemas...I couldn't agree more, like some guys saying the use up to 11Gb a month...come on!!! wife NEVER goes over 150Mb, why she should pay more???....Now we know why at&t's network is so f...cked up sometimes..

I think the thing that people are overlooking here is the effect this will have on the purported new features of iPhone 4G/HD - specifically, video conferencing. I'm assuming that unless AT&T wraps the video stream into the phone call data (which is highly unlikely), that this indicates one of three things:

  1. AT&T has no intention of allowing streaming video conferencing on the iPhone 4G/HD over 3G (most likely)
  2. Video conferencing is, in fact, not coming to iPhone 4G/HD (less likely)
  3. AT&T wants to discourage the use of video conferencing on iPhone 4G/HD, or force those that "must" have it to pay through the nose for the "privilege" (somewhat likely)

Any thoughts?

I figured this out this morning when I started to research how much data I use. I am still on an original iPhone so I am stuck with EDGE and therefore rely on WIFI a lot. Interestingly I looked at a break down of my data charges and I noticed something I couldn't explain. It looks like every night between 2am-3am my phone chews up between as little as 119kb and as much as 5458kb. My friend noticed he has the exact same data usage on his bill. I never noticed it because of the unlimited plan but that really adds up and actually amounts to almost all my data usage. MY friend called AT&T and couldn't get a clear explanation as to the source. Is it just an App I have fetching data? Seems like a like of bandwith to not have a clear explanation when it is happening EVERY night.

@Nick I think you are on to something. I was always under the impression that if people actually started using video chat, that would be a huge burden on the network(I still think their network kind of sucks). I question how usable it would really be over 3g. It seems to me that they are really trying to push people to use wifi for network intensive apps.

@Nick Powers: A 4th option to consider is that they may charge for the video conference service like they do the video share now, allotting X amount of minutes for a cost. It just doesn't make good business sense to have such a blatantly obvious feature on the front of a phone, designed specifically for that carrier no less, and not allow that to be used. I think it's much smarter to meter that at a cost instead, and I'm betting that's where they're gonna go with that.

I use between 2-5gb. If the plan was really unlimited on the iPhone I would use more. This change is good for many but not for me. I am going to try to keep my current plan. 2gb on an ipad is a joke. This is starting to sound like a verizon trick to soak you with overages. Maybe using the sprint overdrive isn't such a bad idea.

Being grandfathered in is nice, though. I was always right at 2gig until I started using Pandora instead of my iPod, now I'm at 4gig. I think in order to cut 3G usage, I'd have to stop using podcast downloading apps RSS Player and Drivecast over 3G. That's a significant amount of my data usage.

@Nicodemus That wouldn't surprise me in the least. AT&T has always been about sucking the last dollar from its customers, so it would stand to reason that they'd take something like video conferencing and attach a dollar amount to that as well. Either that or they'll relegate it completely to WiFi, completely alienating its customer base just like the whole Skype/SlingPlayer debacle...

Doesn't work like that anymore they're sending texts to jailbroken phone users that says they will forcefully change your plan for you

Wow, I am on a Windows Mobile TP2, and am only half way through my billing cycle, and I have already used 850MB!! How is your iPhone usage so much less?? I am on sprint and don't really use WiFi at all, so do you just use WiFi everywhere you go??

I use a lot of data, but I don't do anything out of the ordinary.
There's work email with attachments, web browsing, facebook and twitter apps, push notifications for sports & blogs, some streaming radio via Slacker, ocassional YouTube, and weekly updating of apps on the go.
I ran an experiment in February and March and left my wi-fi on and let the phone connect to anything available. My "normal" usage was still higher than the "Average" person. I shut it back off and went 3G only again in April and you can see the results. Crazy! I guess I'll keep my unlimited plan and jailbreak to tether!

I guess I will be one of those people who "downgrades" to the 200MB a month plan at $15, since..
I am on EDGE
I am 2 hours away from the closest 3G zone
I use under 100MB a month currently
I am mostly around WiFi
Guess I am saving $15 a month

The 2GB limit for phone-only data doesn't bother me and would suit both myself and my wife and save us $120 a year.
However I would also like to tether but not pay through the nose as I wouldn't be using it all the time. An extra $20 for tethering seems reasonable except for the fact that tethered contributes to the same 2GB limit! I thought earlier it increased your limit, but this is daylight robbery! I would expect the extra $20 to raise the combined limit to 4 or 5GB. That would be much more reasonable, but noooo.....

I'm wondering how this will effect the price of the new 4G iPhone. As any iPhone user knows, it was mandatory to get the data plan because the $30 a month subsidized the price of the phone. It in effect lowered the initial purchase price of the phone.
Now I'm wondering with price of these new data plans being half, will that drive up the purchase price of the new iPhone when it comes out?

Yes, I'm sure you do. But instead, why don't you take your perverted little mind over to some porno forum and unleash your fantasy over there!

I'll stick with my unlimited plan, I don't have WIFI at work and I stream talk shows which I am under 2 gigs most of the time but sometimes I'm over. So to whomever said it was because of people that jailbreak is wrong. I am jailbroke but it has nothing to do with being jailbroke, it's legit apps that do it for me.

I agree with what @MIKE said:
I’m always on wifi at home & the office, same for my wife, so our usage is always below 200Mb. Could save $360/yr with the DataPlus plan but will wait until I see my usage on the new phone with features like iChat before relinquishing the grandfathered unlimited plan forever. No need to decide now.

I plan on upgrading from my 2G when the new iPhone comes out. Since I am technically changing my data plan, do you think unlimited data will still be available to me?

I was wondering how one might save on their data transmision. I do have WiFi at home just because there is no such thing as 3g around were I live. I would suppose that that wouldn't count for Data trans usage. Also, would downloading apps to one's computer and syncing that to the iPhone reduce usage. My last monthly usage statement indicated that I used 210,000kB. I also noted (as did TosaDeac), that about 80% of all that usage took place in the wee hours when I was asleep. Every night about 2:30AM there was between 1,200kB and 40,000kB used. How can that happen? I must admit that I leave my phone on when on the charger overnight.

So this sounds class action lawsuit-ish to me. When I bought my 3GS and entered into a contract with AT&T I did so being told that tethering would be available. 1) They have delayed a year now and 2)Now they are telling me to get something I was promised at the time of entering the contract I will have to pay more. Even if there is a ton of legalese in the contract that is really misleading.

So TosaDeac and William Wilson both mentioned strange data activity at around 2 am every night. Well I have that problem too, and I think I know why. It started happening on the night that I jailbroke my phone with the Spirit jailbreak for 3.1.3. I don't know what's causing it specifically, but there appears to be a correlation.

I was looking forward to tethering, but there is no way I'm giving up unlimited data! I used 6GB last month, But usually average 2-4GB/month. Most of this usage I believe comes from streaming 100MB+ podcasts while at work. Also possibly from streaming games like "charadium" which constanly use the internet. Who knows how much data video chat will use? Being grandfathered into unlimited data is awesome! Let's just hope it lasts...

I think ATT is trying to milk all they can since Video Calling is expected in the next iphone being announced today! Dropping your unlimited data for tethering is STUPID! At least Verizon gives you 5GBs per month for $60. You'll burn thru 2GBs in no time! Being Granfathered in may not be the best deal either since many iphone owners are in the first year or second year which means ATT can hit you for more money when you renew your contract without the unlimited Data!

I was wondering if I can keep my blackberry unlimited data plan (same $30/month as the iphone plan) if I upgrade from my blackberry to the new iphone? Anybody know?

I called an AT&T store today and they said that you cannot keep the unlimited BlackBerry plan if you switch to the new iPhone because it is different than the old iPhone unlimited plan. I thought this was BS and did some more research and found this in an interview that CNN Tech did yesterday with Mark Siegel, AT&T's wireless spokesman:
CNN: So exactly who must get one of the new data plans?
Siegel: The people who must sign up for the new data plans are new customers and current AT&T non-smartphone customers who want to upgrade to the iPhone 4 or any other smartphone.
So to me, since you are a current AT&T smartphone customer with an unlimited plan, you should not have to switch. I'm going into a store later today to find out.

I still don’t get the rationale in favor for this…..those who pay for cable TV/internet I have a question for you. If a guy sits around all day and watches tv, he should pay more for cable/internet than a guy that works all day and maybe watches an hour or two at night….right? Isn’t that the same logic? I know what your gonna say…”bigger pipes”….but really I think like those who said earlier…”it’s just another revenue maker for ATT”. If 98% use less than 2GB…your blaming all the network hogging on the remaining 2%? I don’t think so.

It's not a valid comparison for other reasons: it's not a 'bigger' pipe issue, it's a 'shared' pip issue. When you watch a channel, that same channel uses the same bandwidth regardless of how many people are watching it, whether it's 2 or 2,000 it takes pretty much the same resources (actually, the more people watching the same channel takes less resources than if 2,000 people were watching 200 different channels.)
Don't get me wrong -- I completely agree that this sux and I'm not planning on making changes and the day they take away my unlimited I may consider switching carriers. Although, Comcast did the same thing: they don't market their internet as 'unlimited' anymore for the same reason... 'a few bad apples.'
I'd rather them be up front and say they have limits and charge accordingly than say it's unlimited unless you actually try to use it as unlimited and then get hit with a cap or an additional fee. So, at least this is more honest.
If you compare the new to the old, for AT&T, you'd have to use about 3GB or more a month to have it cost more than the $30 you pay now. I'm on a family plan. They have shared minutes, shared SMS, why not shared data? Right now my two iPhones on the family plan each pay $30 and there's no way my wife uses as much as I do ;-) but I'm still paying $60. Maybe the new plan would average cheaper for me over a few months... I'll have to do the math...

I still have the first iPhone I want to know if I have to buy a new plan or if I can keep my unlimited plan? Because I want the new iPhone 4.

I just completed my first year with AT&T and called them to see if I could upgrade from the iPhone 3GS to the new iPhone 4 and keep my unlimited data plan. They told me that since I would be signing a new 2 year contract that I could not keep the unlimited plan. After reading some posts here I don't know what to beleive!

Greg, if you have unlimited now, you can keep unlimited. You can not tether the phone and if you ever change, you can't go back.

Did anyone find out if you have an unlimited smart phone data plan and upgrade to an iPhone would you lose the unlimited data plan? As posted above:
CNN: So exactly who must get one of the new data plans?
Siegel: The people who must sign up for the new data plans are new customers and current AT&T non-smartphone customers who want to upgrade to the iPhone 4 or any other smartphone.
Sounds like if you have ANY unlimited data plan you can keep it if you upgrade to an with anything new, AT&T will probably give you a different answer depending on who you talk to at first. Anyone sucessfully done this since the June 6th data plan change?

I was finally able to log onto the AT&T site to upgrade my old 3G to the new iPhone4, but when I got to the point in the process where I had to pick a plan, there was no option to keep my unlimited plan. It wouldn't let me proceed until I picked one of the new plans. I didn't want to switch, so I'm going to wait a few days and see what happens.

Okay, so I was finally able to order through the Apple Store, and yes, I could keep my unlimited data plan. They also have free shipping, and they waved the $18.00 upgrade fee that At&T was going to charge.

I don't know what to believe about AT&T's data plans anymore. People are saying that you can only get unlimited if you have an AT&T smartphone or an iPhone already. But my friend recently renewed his contract for another two years and was able to get unlimited data even though he wasn't a smartphone users before and isn't one now (he got a Strive). What's going on? I want the new iPhone but if I can't get unlimited data with it I'll probably end up going somewhere else.

Aaron> Your friend likely upgraded to a smartphone prior to Monday, June 7, 2010, which was the deadline to add an unlimited data plan if you did not have one already. The tiered plans went into effect on that date. Whether or not it was still possible to do so after that date is not know to me.
My situation is even more complicated. My wife & I both have smartphones w/o data plans since we were grandfathered in prior to the Sept.6, 2009 deadline. I need to 'gift' my line's upgrade status to my wife since her line is not yet eligible for the $199 iPhone 4. They let me keep my smartphone exclusion (e.g. no data plan) and added unlimited data to my wife's line on Friday, June 4, 2010. This way she can still get unlimited when an iPhone 4 becomes available next month (hopefully).
Beyond that it becomes messier since we also intend on switching financial responsibility to her to get a company reimbursement of $90/month for use of a personal phone for business. The headache may be at this stage since I belive ATT will require us to sign a new contract of at least 12 mos. in order to switch financial responsiblity. I really do not want to get less minutes per month for the same price ;(. I think it's 700 minutes instead of our current 850.

Tried to order through AT&T and had the same issue where they were trying to funnel me into one of the new data plans. Went on a few minutes ago and was able to order keeping my unlimited plan, waived $18 upgrade fee, and free shipping.

I got my iPhone 4 this week - from the Apple store. They activated it for me and I got to keep my unlimited data plan. I rarely use 1GB but I bet with video chat and if I had tethering, I'd burn through those limits in no time. I think I'll stay with the unlimited data.
Oh, and btw...some of us bought our first iPhones just prior to the 3GS coming out - so when I "early upgraded" to the 3GS, ATT tacked on another 2 years to my contract. I won't have to renew a contract for another 3 years.

So what if you want to add another iphone onto an existing unlimited plan? Will the new phone have unlimited?

If it's such a great deal then why not MAKE the current users switch to the new plans too?
"The good news is, existing iPhone users with the $30 unlimited data plan can keep that plan"
yes.. good news for current customers. This will force potential customers to look to other providers.

So I called AT&T this evening to order the iphone 4. I am currently in an UNLIMITED text, AND UNLIMITED data plan. (our 2 phones are the Samsung Impression and the Samsung Jack) I was told by them (AT&T customer service) that there is no such thing as an unlimited data plan for iphone 4 and that I will need to upgrade to one of their "new" data plans/ Any suggestions on bypassing this and getting the iphone 4 AND still keep my unlimited data plan? I am going to try calling apple store and see what they say on Monday.

I recently upgraded from an original iPhone to the iPhone 4. The man in the store told me I would be able to keep my exact same plan (unlimited data plus 1500 text messages for $30/month). A day or so after, I realized I couldn't send or receive text messages. So, I found out I could keep my data plan for the $30/month, but it no longer included text messaging and so I have to pay an extra $15 a month for the SAME service I have been getting for 5 years. This is ridiculous! They kept telling me that the plan won't work on the new model, but I can order the exact same thing, just have to pay more. MAKES NO SENSE! I'm looking at other cell services.

I don't have Internet at my house so I run mywi through my netbook to my routerat average 15 gigs/month and top out somewhereat 40gigs/month I r bad