Good-Bye Unlimited

june 2, 2010



It took AT&T long enough to do this and it is not a surprise that it is happening: the days of unlimited cellular data are about to end.  According to AT&T's press release, on June 7th, you will not be able to get the $30 per month smartphone plan anymore. 

The new plans:
Those of us who are still in contract with the $30/month smartphone plan can elect to keep it.  After looking at my wife and my usage on att.com (My Accounts -> Bill&Payments -> Billing Reports -> Data Trends), we are definitely not going to stay with the $30/month plan, nor are we going to miss it.  Eileen barely breaks 20MB of usage per month.  I have not gone over 95MB of usage per month (usually, I float around 50MB).  We can half the cost of data per month and still stay within the limits.  That is a big win for us.  I am sure it will be a big win for a lot of current customers also -- not to mention, this should lower the monthly cost barrier enough to bring in a lot more data customers.

According to Engadget, AT&T will send (free) text alerts when one reachs 65%, 90% and 100% of their data usage limits. It also helps that AT&T has been and will give free access to all of its WiFi hotspots for people with the smartphone plans -- and that a lot of phones include a WiFi radio.  And for us Blackberry users, it is great that Blackberries are a bunch more efficient with their bandwidth usage -- especially when compared with the Hummers of smartphones.

I see a bunch of benefits out of this.  First, our data costs will be halved -- for our two Blackberries, that will be an annual savings of $360.  Second, by putting real limits on data usage, they should be able to free up network bandwidth -- and hopefully there will be less congestion and better quality of service (at least we can hope).

The only people I see losing out are the people who abuse tax the network with streaming video, audio and Skype calls over 3G (I am guessing there will be a lot of whiny iPhone users right about now).

I am guessing that T-Mobile and Verizon maybe following soon -- and maybe even Sprint? Anyways, what do you think of the new plans?