ATandT Data Plans Wont Help iPhone, iPad Sales

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-06-03 Print this article Print


5. The timing is bad

AT&T's changes to its data plans couldn't have come at a worse time. Just over a month after the iPad 3G hit store shelves with the promise of unlimited data, AT&T has changed it. Now, those consumers who were hoping to be able to stream as much content over the Web as they'd like are going to be subject to the same 2GB limit iPhone owners have. Why AT&T would decide to change iPad data plans so soon after the iPad 3G launched is anyone's guess. It could be a big mistake.

6. iPads aren't unlimited

Speaking of the iPad plans, it's also important to note that AT&T will not be offering an unlimited plan to iPad owners. Aside from the timing issue, it could be extremely troublesome for Apple. After all, the hardware company is calling the iPad the computer that folks will want to use in the living room. They will want to watch television shows on ABC's video player, stream movies over Netflix and much more. Now they need to worry about how much data they're transferring. That might turn some customers away.

7. The Apple issue

Apple should be extremely displeased by AT&T's new data plans. Not only does it make the company look bad, but it could drastically affect sales. After all, if consumers require tethering and don't want to pay $20 just to have that option on an iPhone, they will go elsewhere. And if they realize that they might not be able to do everything they want with the iPad when they're away from home because of arbitrary data restrictions, they might choose to look elsewhere. Apple's products just lost some market appeal because of AT&T.

8. It's a long-term plan for AT&T

AT&T is saying all the right things so far. The company has said since it first announced the new plans that it's trying to help consumers. AT&T's decision to change data plans, aside from potentially protecting itself against the competition, is more likely rooted in its desire to get more users to smartphones. By dropping the price, AT&T undoubtedly believes that it can coax customers to pick up a smartphone. That, in turn, helps it generate revenue from their voice plans, as well as get them into a data plan. It's a win-win. Make no mistake, AT&T's decision had everything to do with business.

9. Consumers might not understand it

The main issue for any company that's attempting to change a service is educating customers. Currently, iPhone and iPad owners know what they're paying and understand that plan. But by creating a tiered service, AT&T will now need to go out and re-educate those folks on what they need to know about the data plans. Although those who follow the industry can pick up on those changes quite quickly, novices or those who only use technology and don't follow the industry won't be so quick to jump on the AT&T bandwagon. These plans can be confusing to novices. And it's important to remember that.

10. Apple hasn't stepped in

A major issue some are having with AT&T's plans is Apple's decision to keep relatively quiet about them. Granted, Apple can't decide what AT&T does with its plans, so the company can't stop it. But it can apply pressure to make the plans better. After all, AT&T's new data plans play a role in the sales of the iPhone and iPad. If consumers like what they see, they will be more likely to buy Apple's products. If they don't, they won't pick them up. Apple should be applying some pressure on AT&T to get the plans that it believes are best for all parties involved. Then again, maybe it already sanctioned the changes. If so, consumers can take issue with both AT&T and Apple, since these plans are rife with issues.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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