I weep at the loss of “unlimited” usage.
AT&T’s $30 unlimited-data plan for smartphones will be eliminated for new users. Starting next week, it will be replaced by new plans costing $15 a month for 200 megabytes of data traffic or $25 a month for 2 gigabytes. AT&T says 98% of its customers use less than those amounts. Users who exceed 2 gigabytes of usage will pay $10 a month for each additional gigabyte.
AT&T Inc. is lowering prices on some of its wireless-calling plans for a second time in six months and moving to a model of charging users based on the amount of Internet surfing they do and email traffic they generate on devices like the iPhone. The move, while it lowers the cost of entry-level plans, means heavy data consumers will have to pay more for service unless they cut back their usage. It kicks in June 7, when Apple Inc. is expected to announce its latest iPhone.
The new plans will lower the cost of an entry-level voice and data plan for smartphones by $15, to $54.99. Existing users will have the option of sticking with their current plans. The company is also dropping the current, $30 unlimited data option for new buyers of Apple’s wireless-enabled iPad and replacing it with the $25 a month 2-gigabyte plan. Executives at AT&T and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, have said this year that consumers are going to have to start paying for the amount of data they use as devices become more sophisticated and traffic explodes.
Separately, AT&T said it would allow iPhone users to use their devices as modems starting June 7, a practice called tethering.