AT&T, the second largest mobile carrier in the nation, has introduced “shared data plans,” currently only offered by Verizon Wireless, the largest carrier. AT&T’s shared data plans will be great for some people, but others are likely to get stuck with a bigger phone bill.
Customers can opt for shared data plans in August
More people are getting tablets to go with their smartphones, many with 3G and 4G capability. Tablets that don’t work only with Wi-Fi require data plans from wireless carriers, but some lament having to purchase separate data plans for their tablet on top of the data plan for the smartphone.
Verizon recently announced that it was introducing shared data plans for those who want to bundle their data together, according to CNN. However, the corollary was that all data plans will be shared data plans. When a Verizon customer buys a monthly data allotment, all the customer’s devices share it. AT&T has just announced their own shared data plans, which will be available in August. However, they are giving customers more options.
AT&T’s new shared plans are called “Mobile Share.” Verizon, according to USA Today, calls it “Share Everything.” In either, customers can choose from various amounts of wireless data.
According to PC Magazine, Verizon starts at 1 gigabyte at $50, 2 GB at $60, 4 GB at $70, 6 GB for $80, 8 for $90 and 10 GB for $100. If that isn’t sufficient, one can just add more data at $10 per month for every 2 GB. Data overages costs $15 per GB. Each smartphone for the plan costs $40 per month, a tablet costs $10, netbooks and cellular modems cost $20. Phones get unlimited talk and unlimited text messaging.
AT&T’s shared plan is very similar, as tablets cost $10 per month, netbooks and cellular modems cost $20. Data allotments start at 1 GB at $40, 4 GB for $70, 6 GB for $90, 10 GB for $120, 15 GB for $160 and 20 GB for $200. However, each tier of data knocks a bit off the smartphone bill. A smartphone, on a 1 GB plan costs $45 per month, also with unlimited text and talk, but come down to $35 per month on the 4 GB and 6 GB plans and $30 per month with 10 GB, 15 GB and 20 GB data plans. Additional data costs $15 per GB.
Boon or bane
AT&T’s shared plan, according to Daily Finance, is geared for people with multiple devices and depending on how it’s configured, can save money or be a rip-off. According to AT&T’s pricing, two smartphones on a $120-per-month family plan, with 3 GB of data per device and unlimited talk and text, comes to $180 per month. With the 6 GB Mobile Share plan, it’s $160. The more devices are added and the more data is purchased, the greater the savings.
A person with a smartphone and a tablet, with a $70 monthly unlimited talk-text plan and 3 GB plans for each device at $30 a month per, pays $130 per month; using a 6 GB Mobile Share plan, it’s $135.
However, the catch is that AT&T is also going to continue to offer their old plans. Verizon isn’t.
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-07-18/ATampT-shared-plan/56297892/1