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.
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?