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

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.€

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