As of this coming Monday (which ironically coincides with Steve Jobs’ WWDC iPhone Keynote), AT&T is swinging the axe on the unlimited data plans and introducing a new tiered data plan. The most shocking part of this new plan? The much-touted unlimited data plan for the iPad is part of this change, making the iPad 3G much less desirable.
The announcement by AT&T details two new tiers available to iPad and Smartphone customers: a $15/month plan for just 200MB of data or a $25/month plan with 2GB of data. If you happen to go over your monthly allotment, you’ll inherit a $10 charge per extra GB of data. These new plans are called DataPlus and DataPro and once again, start this coming Monday on June 7th.
Along with the announcement of these new plans, AT&T brought in a few statistics to help back their move saying that “65% of smartphone customers use less than 200MB of data” and that “98% of smartphone customers do not exceed 2GB of data”. Of course, AT&T sells a wide array of smartphones so a statistic showing just iPhone and iPad numbers would have been interesting to compare.
If you still have an unlimited smartphone plan, you can put your pitchforks away as those plans can stay as long as you don’t change them. For new customers however, they will not have a choice but to go with the new data plans.
The one upside to the new plans is that AT&T announced its official plans for tethering. Having one of the new DataPro (2GB) plans is required, and it will knock another $20/month to your bill. That additional $20 does not grant you any additional features besides simply being able to piggyback on your phone’s 3G connection.
Well, there you have the new law of the land. The heavy users will either have to pay up or leave and the light users potentially save a little money off of their phone bill. The biggest factor I see in this situation is the iPad. On January 27th, Steve Jobs promised a $30/month unlimited plan which was a nice factor and feature for buying one. With services like Netflix, I just don’t see a cap helping to push the device on heavy users.