iPhone tethering and capped data plans go into effect June 7, AT&T says
(GEEK.COM) According to the official press release, AT&T tweaked its data plan offerings Wednesday morning, replacing the $30 a month unlimited 3G data plan with two new offerings that include either 200MB or 2GB of data for $15 or $25 a month, respectively. The change should relieve the strain on AT&T’s network ahead of the iPhone HD launch on June 7, when the new capped data plans and tethering service will become available.
The new plans include unlimited access to more than 20,000 AT&T’s wireless hotspots across the country and are available to all smartphone users, not just the iPhone customers, the carrier wrote in a statement:
Customers can pick the new data plan that best meets their needs – either a $15 per month entry plan or a $25 per month plan with 10 times more data. Current smartphone customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension.
For new iPad customers, AT&T said, the $25 a month plan replaces the existing $30 a month unlimited plan. The new plan will also be provided on a pay-as-you-go basis, with no contract required. Existing iPad users on the $30 a month unlimited data can keep that plan, the carrier said.
To help track your data consumption, AT&T will send free text messages after you reach different usage intervals (65 percent, 90 percent, and 100 percent). You can also check your data consumption by using the AT&T myWireless app, going online to www.att.com/wireless, or call *DATA# from your phone to get a free text message with your usage information.
The sought-after tethering option will finally become available on June 7 to all smartphone customers, including iPhone users who will gain tethering support with the release of iPhone OS 4. The service will cost an additional $20 a month and will require the new $25 a month plan. Data traffic in tethering mode will count against the 2GB quota. AT&T argued that only two percent of its smartphone users consume more than 2GB of data per month, while 65 percent of them use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
New smartphone customers will be able to chose between the two new plans beginning with June 7, when the existing unlimited plan will cease to exist. However, existing customers can continue using their $30 a month unlimited data plan that will no longer be available to new subscribers from June 7, the carrier explained in a wall post on its Facebook page:
The good news for current customers who love their unlimited plan is this: they are not required to switch, even when it’s time to upgrade to a new phone. So you are welcome to keep your unlimited plan.
This means that iPhone owners can keep their unlimited data plan even when they upgrade to the forthcoming iPhone HD, which is nice. However, once you switch to one of the capped plans, you can’t go back to the unlimited plan. More information about the new data plans is available here.
Read more in AT&T’s press release