ATandT Mobile Share Data Plans Coming in August, But Users Have Options

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-07-18 Print this article Print

AT&T will begin selling Mobile Share plans in late August, though the carrier insists it's optional for users. Like Verizon Wireless' Share Everything plans, AT&T will tie up to 10 devices to a single data allotment.

AT&T, to no one's surprise, announced it will offer Mobile Share plans beginning in late August. The plans, similar to the Share Everything plans Verizon Wireless introduced June 12, focus around a bucket a data that up to 10 devices can share. Traditionally, wireless contracts tie a single device to a data allotment.

The plans, AT&T said in a July 18 statement, are intended to €œgive customers more control over how, where and on what device they use data€”which has become more important as people use more data devices.€ Current customers won€™t be required to switch to the new plans, though they can choose to do so without extending their contract.

AT&T additionally made clear€”likely distinguishing itself from Verizon here€”that customers eligible for an upgrade are not required to switch plans.

The Mobile Share plans ask that customers first choose how much data they plan to use a month; the price per gigabyte decreases with the more gigabytes chosen:

1GB is $40, plus $45 for each smartphone

4GB is $70, plus $40 for each smartphone

6GB is $90, plus $35 for each smartphone

10GB is $120, plus $30 for each smartphone

15GB is $160 plus $30 for each smartphone

20GB is $200, plus $30 for each smartphone

Additional gigabytes are $15 each.

Each basic or quick-messaging phone (non-smartphone) adds $30 a month to the plan; each laptop, LaptopConnect card or netbook can be tied to the plan for $20 each a month, and tablets and gaming devices can be added for $10 each per month.

Each Mobile Share plan includes unlimited talk and text, as well as tethering€”the ability to extend a device€™s connection to another device€”and offers subscribers access to AT&T€™s more than 30,000 WiFi hotspots.

Using a Mobile Share plan, a couple with two smartphones and a tablet, say, who estimate that they need 4GB of data per month, would pay $90 plus $35 plus $35 plus $10€”a total of $170 per month.

Verizon€™s Share Everything plans are slightly different€”the gigabyte pricing is set, as is the pricing per month per device€”but, ultimately, the plans are very competitive. Per month, Verizon charges $40 per smartphone, $30 per basic phone, $20 per Jetpack MiFi hotspot, USB hotspot, netbook and notebook, and $10 per tablet. Gigabyte pricing is 1 for $50, 2 for $60, 4 for $70, 6 for $80, 8 for $90, and 10 for $100, with higher allotments also available.

The couple above would also pay $170 per month with a Verizon plan.

A single user with only a smartphone, should he need only 1GB of data per month, would pay $85 on the AT&T plan and $90 a month with Verizon. Should he instead need 6GB a month, that would change to $125 on AT&T and $120 on Verizon. A family of four with four smartphones, needing a collective 20GB of data per month, on AT&T would pay $350 a month€”$200 for the data and $30 per smartphone; on Verizon, the tally would be $310€”$150 for 20GB and $40 per smartphone. If that family had five members with smartphones, however, the cost would change to $350 on both carriers.

Verizon€™s introduction of its new plans was met with some resistance€”as a Verizon spokesperson said was expected€”despite the carrier€™s insistence that no one would be forced to move to the new plans.

For new customers, the story is a different one. The Verizon Wireless site now offers customers a choice of only Prepaid or Share Everything plans.

When did Verizon do away with its former individual plans?

€œShare Everything plans are individual plans,€ a Verizon spokesperson told eWEEK. She added that, despite the June 28 introduction of the Share Everything plans, existing Verizon Wireless customers €œcan continue to use and purchase the Nationwide plans.€

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.

Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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