AT&T is joining Verizon Wireless to offer mobile phone plans that share data over multiple devices, but it will mean that consumers will pay more for data capacity they don't need, says one mobile analyst.
recently announced shared-device mobile phone plans
will go on sale to
consumers Aug. 23, just a month after they were unveiled by the phone carrier
in response to Verizon's "Share Everything Plan," which made a
big splash in June
The Aug. 23
availability of the upcoming AT&T Mobile Share plans
were unveiled Aug.
6 in a post on AT&T's Consumer Blog
from David Christopher, the company's chief marketing officer.
The new mobile plans will allow customers to
select a desired amount of monthly data capacity, which can then be shared by
up to 10 devices. The idea, according to the shared data plans, is that
consumers will no longer have to buy individual service and data contracts for
each device they want to use, which could save them money.
AT&T has set up a Mobile Share Planner tool
allow users to estimate their current data usage on each device they use so
they can find the data plan that best fits their needs, according to
Ultimately, though, these new shared data
plans from AT&T and Verizon will likely mean that consumers will pay more
for extra, unwanted data capacity that they don't even need because the new
plans don't offer cheap options for people who use little data, said Dan
Maycock, a mobile analyst with Slalom Consulting.
The AT&T shared plans start at 1GB of
data usage, which is much more than most mobile users are eating up today under
their current plans, said Maycock. "Most people know that they dont use
that much data already, so they're going to end up paying for a lot more that
they dont use."
Verizon's sharing plans also start at 1GB of
monthly data use for up to 10 devices.
What it all means, said Maycock, is that
mobile carriers will be "making money on data people are not using."
Only about 2 percent of mobile phone users
todaythe heaviest data consumersuse as much as 1GB or 2GB of data on their
mobile devices each month, Maycock said.
What such shared plans will do is confuse
consumers more, just like the cable television companies have done over the
years, to get them to pay more money for bundled services they didn't even ask
for, said Maycock. "It will give AT&T more money for its network so
they can keep it up. What they're really trying to do is squeeze as much income
out of such plans as they can."
The other benefit of shared plans to the
phone carriers, said Maycock, is that by bundling the services together,
consumers "can't really dissect them to see what they are really
That means carriers can "sneak in
costs" that allow consumer's bills to continue to creep upward, said
Maycock. "It's a last-ditch effort to squeeze more from