AT&T joins Verizon in offering ’shared data plans’

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

AT&T is joining the “shared data plan” bandwagon.

The company is following Verizon’s lead, announced in June, in allowing customers to bundle devices under one data plan. The cost benefit, however, will depend on the number of devices.

Sometime in August, new AT&T customers will have to choose a shared plan, but existing customers can keep their current plan, even if they upgrade their phones. Verizon customers who currently have an unlimited data plan and who want to upgrade to a new device must switch to the company’s Shared Everything or tiered data plans unless they buy the new device at full price.

AT&T’s Mobile Share plans – there are six -  will allow customers with a smartphone to add up to nine other devices, including tablets, gaming devices, feature phones, laptops, netbooks and external broadband cards. You’ll pay a monthly data fee, a monthly smartphone fee and monthly fees for every extra connected device.

The bottom line from Zdnet.com:

AT&T has slightly higher data fees for 4GB or more, but then the per device smartphone fee decreases so heavy data smartphone users can see a savings. Mobile hotspot service is included with both carriers on compatible smartphones. Verizon charges $10 per additional GB and AT&T charges you $15 so make sure you sign up for the allotment you need. You should then look at which carrier works best for you since the costs are essentially the same. Verizon does currently have much greater LTE coverage though. Check out the  pricing chart.

Why the rush to shared plans? According to Reuters:

Since young consumers are making fewer phone calls in favor of communicating via data services, AT&T, like Verizon Wireless, is overhauling its pricing in a bid to boost revenue from data services and to avoid a future decline in voice revenue.

Are you making the switch to a shared plan?

12 comments Add your comment

Ivory

July 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

Nope, I don’t have a smart phone……..HELLO!

XO

July 18th, 2012
1:14 pm

AT&T has been working on this since the beginning of this year. They’re offering more options and customization, so they’ve been performing more pre-consumer testing than Verizon. This article reads like AT&T is copying Verizon when in fact both companies began working on this around the same time. Meh. Just stick with whatever provider you already have. The differences are minimal.

Jason

July 18th, 2012
1:15 pm

No! I would love to have a smart phone without data service. I only want to connect it to wifi. But since the cell companies force you into a data plan, then I’m sticking with a dumb phone. I won’t budge until I can get a smart phone with wifi only connectivity or the price of data plans come down to where the voice only plans are currently at.

Ken

July 18th, 2012
1:37 pm

Jason, You might want to check into Republic Wireless.

she-boone

July 18th, 2012
2:00 pm

@Jason…you can get a smartphone without a data plan. You’ll need to fork up full price for the phone, however.

Matthew

July 18th, 2012
2:32 pm

I work for Sprint, they offer great plans, and they still have the unlimited data plan for only $10 a month which is a great deal. And as stated above, you can use the WiFi only for a while on the device, but the carries do what is called “sweeps” of the accounts and when they find devices that don’t have data plans and are suppose to have them, they will automatically add the lowest plan that is offered. Drop the other guys who are have such complicated plans ect. and come join the NOW network!! LOL They even offer some great monthly service plan discounts!!

Misinformed

July 18th, 2012
2:34 pm

I hate when the subject of 4G and LTE coverage comes up because these so-called journalists just don’t get it.

“Verizon does currently have much greater LTE coverage though.”

You see that statement frequently. What most of these so-called journalists fail to realize is Verizon’s LTE coverage is greater because they fell behind and had a failure of a growth plan. When you move outside of that Verizon LTE, you drop all the way back to 3G (EVDO) speeds. However, AT&T had the smarts to implement a “stair-step” growth where they had 3G (UMTS), then HSDPA, then HSUPA, then HSPA+ (3.5G in my mind, but they call it 4G). In essence, there’s a lot less of a drop-off when it comes to AT&T’s data speeds.

Verizon had to have better LTE coverage because they screwed up, were playing catch-up, an had nothing between their 3G and 4G.

RodH

July 18th, 2012
4:52 pm

she-boone – As for Verizon, you can buy a smartphone but Verizon will not activate it unless you get the data plan. I tried it. So now I use the smartphone whenever I need to connect wifi and use my dumb phone for calls…No need for my laptop anymore when traveling. I can’t deal with the cost of the data plans!

My Two Cents

July 18th, 2012
7:05 pm

I will keep enjoying my flip phone. Too much hassle to be forced to purchase a data plan.

5steinman

July 18th, 2012
10:39 pm

We switched to Sprint and am so disappointed in their LACK of parental controls for iPhones!! Their Parental Controls ONLY apply to Android phones…. huge fail for my family!

atare

July 18th, 2012
11:51 pm

verizon’s data is getting too expensive. I’m dumping it when my contract runs out and getting a flip phone. enough!

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