Beginning this Sunday, January 22, AT&T will begin offering new data plans to its US smartphone and tablet customers, its first change to the plans since June 2010.

The new plans aren't designed to save money for existing smartphone customers: the previous entry-level Data Plus plan, which offered customers 200MB of data a month for $15, has been replaced by a Data Plus plan that offers 300MB for $20, a $5 increase for just a 100MB increase. The hike is less ostentatious for the middle and top tiers: the DataPro 2GB ($25) and DataPro 4GB ($45) plans have been replaced by DataPro 3GB and DataPro 5GB plans that run $30 and $50, respectively, which is in line with the company's $10/GB overage charges. As with before, tethering and mobile hotspot capabilities are only available for the top tier (5GB) plan.

The story is similar for tablet users: there are 3GB and 5GB Data Connect plans available for $30 and $50, while the price and data cap remain the same for the $14.99 250MB plan.

Current AT&T customers can elect to stay with their current plans, which was the case when AT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans to new customers, but new subscribers will only be able to choose from among the new plans. For current customers, the new plans make sense only for 2GB and 4GB subscribers who regularly go over their caps - an extra GB for $5 is more attractive than an extra GB for $10. Otherwise, I'd recommend sticking with what you've got.


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  • jdjbuffalo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    So basically what this is saying is that AT&T is raising prices on all their data plans by $5.

    Expect to see more of this as text messaging goes away and everyone moves to VOIP.

    The data plan will be the only regular income that carriers see.
  • sleepeeg3 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Should have kept my grandfathered no-data plan phone number. Only changed so I could get a $5 packaged discount, which they discontinued. This sucks.

    At least they still offer a mid-tier data option.
  • toyotabedzrock - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    It means you should get the 3gb plan.

    Now that they raised the prices they eliminated the incentive to get the 5gb plan since the overage charge is $10/GB.

    Usage  |  5GB Plan  |  3GB Plan
    1GB      |  $50.00       |  $30.00 - Save $20
    2GB      |  $50.00       |  $30.00 - Save $20
    3GB      |  $50.00       |  $30.00 - Save $20
    4GB      |  $50.00       |  $40.00 - Save $10
    5GB      |  $50.00       |  $50.00
    6GB      |  $60.00       |  $60.00
  • 8steve8 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    tmobile offers 5GB/mo of hspa+ and then unlimited at edge speeds, for $30/mo with 100 minutes of talktime...

    if you live in a major city where all carriers have great coverage, it's the best deal around.
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    That's how data should work. You should pay for a limited amount of data from the latest technology, then get unlimited use of the legacy network. That's a fair compromise.
  • lurker22 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Or just pay for what you use...
  • Spivonious - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately, most carriers don't offer pay-as-you-go data.

    I'm currently using T-Mobile pay-as-you-go and get 10c/min, 10c/txt and just use wifi for my data needs. I'm paying about $8/month.
  • Kepe - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    .. suck. I live in Finland, and in here you can get a data plan with unlimited speed (~15 Mbps max with our 3G) and without any data amount restrictions for under 13.90€ / month. At the current currency rate that is less than $18.
    Here, cheaper data plans have restricted download speeds, but no restrictions on data amounts (except for one carrier). I think this is something that US carriers could think about, too.
  • Kepe - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I have actually been using my cell phone's internet connection as my home connection for all of my devices for a couple of months since my DSL contract expired and I haven't bothered to get a new one yet. I hook up my phone to my WLAN box with USB, and use tethering to share the connection with my desktop, laptop and pad over WLAN. Quite nifty, actually. Also saves some electricity as I usually tend to leave all my computers on 24/7, but now that my internet connection leaves with me when I leave my apartment, I shut down the computers when leaving.
  • solipsism - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Finland has a geographical size limitation compared to the US. If I got your plans but could only use them in CA or FL or NY or any other state without having to switch out SIMs I wouldn't take it. I like that I can travel to all the states and other places on the same data plan. As an American I do travel great distances often so this isn't some hypothetical.

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