AT&T announces new data plans and tethering; kills unlimited iPad option

With the release of the next iPhone looming, AT&T has decided to officially announce its new data plans and their prices. Touting the new plans as "lower-priced," the company is allowing its customers to upgrade to them without re-signing their contracts. However, should you prefer your current plan, there's no obligation to switch. CEO, Ralph de la Vega, says the company is trying to break free from the idea that one size fits all. It is his belief that the new plans will make mobile data more affordable, and therefore, reach more people.

The new plans will launch on June 7th. Regarding the tethering plan, AT&T flat-out says that the iPhone will support it once iPhone OS 4 is released this summer (probably next week at WWDC). Voice and text plans will remain the same, but the following are what you, as a consumer, can expect as your data options:

DataPlus - 200 MB of data ($15/month)

  • Send/receive 1,000 emails without attachments and 150 with attachments
  • View 400 web pages
  • Post 50 photos to social media sites
  • Watch 20 minutes of streaming video
  • If you go over, you get another 200 MB chunk for an additional $15

DataPro - 2 GB of data ($25/month)

  • Send/receive 10,000 emails without attachments and 1,500 with attachments
  • View 4,000 web pages
  • Post 500 photos to social media sites
  • Watch 200 minutes of streaming video
  • If you go over, you get another 1 GB chunk for an additional $10
  • Will replace $30 unlimited iPad plan

Tethering ($20/month)

  • For all smartphones, including iPhone
  • Must already be on the DataPro plan (read: to use it, you have to ditch your unlimited data plan)

AT&T claims these plans "provide large amounts of data" to consumers. The reasoning for the above pricing structure is that 65% of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data a month on average, while 98% use less than 2 GB. It should be noted that Apple's iPad will no longer receive a special $30 unlimited data plan. Customers will now be stuck with the DataPro plan. Current customers who already have the unlimited plan may keep it, if they choose. All plans come with unlimited access to over 20,000 AT&T Hot Spots across the country, as well as data monitoring tools. Customers may visit www.att.com/dataplans for more information.

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