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  • jdjbuffalo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    So basically what this is saying is that AT&T is raising prices on all their data plans by $5.

    Expect to see more of this as text messaging goes away and everyone moves to VOIP.

    The data plan will be the only regular income that carriers see.
  • sleepeeg3 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Should have kept my grandfathered no-data plan phone number. Only changed so I could get a $5 packaged discount, which they discontinued. This sucks.

    At least they still offer a mid-tier data option.
  • toyotabedzrock - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    It means you should get the 3gb plan.

    Now that they raised the prices they eliminated the incentive to get the 5gb plan since the overage charge is $10/GB.

    Usage  |  5GB Plan  |  3GB Plan
    1GB      |  $50.00       |  $30.00 - Save $20
    2GB      |  $50.00       |  $30.00 - Save $20
    3GB      |  $50.00       |  $30.00 - Save $20
    4GB      |  $50.00       |  $40.00 - Save $10
    5GB      |  $50.00       |  $50.00
    6GB      |  $60.00       |  $60.00
  • 8steve8 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    tmobile offers 5GB/mo of hspa+ and then unlimited at edge speeds, for $30/mo with 100 minutes of talktime...

    if you live in a major city where all carriers have great coverage, it's the best deal around.
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    That's how data should work. You should pay for a limited amount of data from the latest technology, then get unlimited use of the legacy network. That's a fair compromise. Reply
  • lurker22 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Or just pay for what you use... Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately, most carriers don't offer pay-as-you-go data.

    I'm currently using T-Mobile pay-as-you-go and get 10c/min, 10c/txt and just use wifi for my data needs. I'm paying about $8/month.
  • Kepe - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    .. suck. I live in Finland, and in here you can get a data plan with unlimited speed (~15 Mbps max with our 3G) and without any data amount restrictions for under 13.90€ / month. At the current currency rate that is less than $18.
    Here, cheaper data plans have restricted download speeds, but no restrictions on data amounts (except for one carrier). I think this is something that US carriers could think about, too.
  • Kepe - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I have actually been using my cell phone's internet connection as my home connection for all of my devices for a couple of months since my DSL contract expired and I haven't bothered to get a new one yet. I hook up my phone to my WLAN box with USB, and use tethering to share the connection with my desktop, laptop and pad over WLAN. Quite nifty, actually. Also saves some electricity as I usually tend to leave all my computers on 24/7, but now that my internet connection leaves with me when I leave my apartment, I shut down the computers when leaving. Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Finland has a geographical size limitation compared to the US. If I got your plans but could only use them in CA or FL or NY or any other state without having to switch out SIMs I wouldn't take it. I like that I can travel to all the states and other places on the same data plan. As an American I do travel great distances often so this isn't some hypothetical. Reply
  • lurker22 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Thank you. Our European friends always forget their countries are the smaller than most US states... Reply
  • zanon - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    >Finland has a geographical size limitation compared to the US.
    Please don't repeat this stupid BS. It ignores multiple obvious issues:
    1) America is not just larger geographically, it's massively larger economically. The Fins didn't give their carriers *hundreds of billions of dollars of tax payer money* either.

    2) If it was just density, then one would expect to see vaguely decent plans in highly populated areas, with coverage tapering off and speeds getting reduced out in the boonies. That's not what we see. Instead it's crap everywhere (both for landlines and for wireless).

    3) Data caps don't even make sense *period*, ever. There is no "bucket of bits" that can get "used up". The limiting resource is *bandwidth*. Data caps exist purely as a way to rip people off. If they were honest they'd sell bandwidth and leave it at that, like honest ISPs do or what you get with hosting. We'd see a guaranteed minimum, a 65% (or whatever) promised basic, and a max cap.

    This isn't secret stuff, and it's a natural result of America's mismanagement of infrastructure. Granted it could be even worse then it is, but that doesn't mean we get to just dismiss others who have done it better as if that was somehow impossible for us to manage.
  • TerdFerguson - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Thank you for a great post, Zanon. You're 100% correct, and you made your points in a very cogent fashion. If you would ever choose to run for political office with a mind to protect Americans who have similar, neglected, interests, I promise I will support you. Reply
  • BSMonitor - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    But the point is the same. The infrastructure cost in America is what compared to the tiny European countries. Here, you have coverage in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the entire continental U.S.

    On top of that. The smallest major U.S. city has more data subscribers than the entire country of Finland.

    The demographics of comparisons to Europe are actually pretty funny when you think about it.
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    But that higher number of customers is actually a reason for cheaper prices, not for higher prices per contract..... :-) Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    To get an equivalent area to the USA you need to include most lf European Russia. The EU itself has half the area of the USA. However, the EU/Europe has a much higher population density. The EU has ~500M people vs the USAs 300M; a 3.3x higher average. Europe as a whole has about 750M; about 2.5x the USAs population density.

    As a result Europe needs far fewer towers which don't have enough customers to directly generate profit (ATT/VZW's much larger networks in rural areas generate revenue indirectly since by giving more total coverage they make their networks look more attractive and allow them to justify charging higher rates).

    It also helps Europe that its telecoms market is heavily fragmented on national borders. By limiting the area they have to deploy over to the most profitable parts of the continent the rich country companies can pack towers in much closer for higher capacity while only having to cover limited areas. This lets them provide higher levels of service at lower costs than US companies.

    It leaves poorer areas in the south and east holding the bag. Once you adjust for the lower income levels wireless service there becomes proportionally much more expensive; and AFAIK much of the area has lagged the US in advanced wireless deployment.
  • erple2 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    <quote>it's a natural result of America's mismanagement of infrastructure</quote>

    It's not mismanaged, it's just managed for the benefit of someone that isn't "the people". The companies that run the wireless services are definitely profiting off it.
  • Targon - Sunday, January 22, 2012 - link

    It is clear you have never worked at the network engineer level of an ISP, because there ARE limitations in traffic between different ISPs. If you have ONLY a 100 megabit connection between your ISP and each of the large ISPs you connect to, and you have customers that are sending a lot of data, you get massive slowdowns, and service for your customers will suffer. You need to have a LARGE "pipe", and that costs money.

    While agreements between ISPs will generally not provide hard limits, if the demand isn't balanced in both directions, one company WILL demand money to allow that amount of traffic to flow. There is also just so much data that existing connections can allow(fiber is NOT unlimited in terms of bandwidth), so if you start seeing limitations, running more fiber is required, and this also costs money.

    You also seem to have missed the fact that the USA has five or six different regions, and based on the region, you are looking at MASSIVE differences in terms of the economic situation. Even with that, did you know that much of New York State is like a third world country, where the majority of the people live below the poverty line? There are many states where the economic situation has NEVER been very good as well. Low population density, low health care, and the quality of living is poor.

    The overall economy in the USA is also in bad shape right now, something you may not have grasped. Stock Markets do NOT reflect the quality of life for people in general, so saying the USA is larger economically does not mean that the standard of living is higher.

    On your second point, you miss the fact that COMPANIES in general will not change their prices based on where you live within the same country. People would revolt if a company said, "If you live in this town, you pay $10/month more than people living just over some arbitrary line. It is a nice idea that those in "good service" areas would pay more than those in fringe areas, but that will NEVER happen. So, companies have to average out their overall costs against their entire coverage area. Regional carriers do charge less, but you end up not having service that works when you are traveling.

    You are looking at things as if there is no need for deployment of new equipment, and as if the government has actually helped with the deployment of infrastructure. Europe had a chance after World War 2 to replace the infrastructure with a new and better overall design, and you see the benefits of this even today. The USA has NEVER had to fully replace the old infrastructures, and what we have clearly is the result of that. In a large part of the USA, we still have above-ground wires that get knocked down in large storms, and which are put back up rather than moved underground as just one example of "old ways of doing things are still being used".

    I can't disagree that poor management of corporations and government agencies is at fault for many things, but like taxes, the PEOPLE in any country have very little chance to actually change the way things are done. You may not like it, but when you have ZERO way to actually influence the way things are done(buying from other providers is NOT an option, and starting your own business to compete is also not even possible in most situations). Do YOU have the option to just change power companies for your home? If you know no one likes the local power company, are you in the position to just start your own power company to "compete"?
  • Kepe - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    If you look at population density, USA has a density of 83 people per square mile. Finland has a density of 41 ppl/sq mi. So, basically we need twice the amount of cellular towers per customer. Yes, your country is bigger, but it also has 60 times more potential customers that live twice as densely than we do. Take these in to consideration, your data plans should be a lot cheaper than ours. Also, we have a 23% VAT on all our mobile bills, and that is included in the 14€/month data fee. Reply
  • Kepe - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Haha, I can't believe this. I wanted to see how much a 24 month contract with the full speed (and unlimited) data plan and a cutting edge phone costs here in Finland. So this is what you get:

    - Motorola RAZR XT910 (not sim locked)
    - 3G data plan with no speed or data caps
    - All phone calls (GSM and land lines) and SMSs within Finland 0.089 US cents per minute or piece (if you're a heavy texter or talker there are packages available that have an X amount of minutes and SMSs for a cheaper price)

    Guess how much all of this costs? 48 USD per month, and the phone is completely included in to that 24 month contract. So there's no need to shell out 300 bucks to get the phone.

    Compared to your prices, we basically get the phone absolutely free of charge. I think you should try to do something to correct this. You're getting ripped off.
  • Kepe - Saturday, January 21, 2012 - link

    I meant 0.089 USD of course. 0.089 cents would be ridiculously cheap. Reply
  • Targon - Sunday, January 22, 2012 - link

    What is the population density in Kansas, or West Virginia? Anyone can "average" the population density, knowing that you have large cities like New York, but you also have tiny places with a population of 23 people that covers 10 miles. If you provide service in small places like that, you may not have a single customer that lives there, but service is being offered so those who travel can get service there.

    Then, you have the cost to extend service TO those "unprofitable" areas, and that is where the costs come from. is a HUGE state, and you will have both high population density areas AND ultra-low population density areas. Can you REALLY say with this in mind that just having a decent population density overall will properly compensate for those rural areas?
  • djc208 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I still don't get the limitations on tethering and hot spots with these type of plans? If I have "unlimited" data then I can see carriers wanting to restrict how you can use that data. But if I paid for a specific amount of data there should be no limits on how/where/when I use it. I paid for it, I have to pay more if I exceed my limit, you'd think they would be encouraging people to use more data.

    Worst part is most people who are the heaviest data users are probably going to be savy enough to root their device and bypass the carrier restrictions on it anyway.
  • bmgoodman - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    So look what AT&T has now accomplished:

    Originally, they offered unlimited data for $30 a month. Then they put on data caps and said, "we're saving you money! Look, now you can get 2 GB, which is more than you even need, but you SAVE $5! And you very light users can now get your data for just $15!" Now, 18 months later, it's back to $30 a month for 3 GB. And $20 for everyone else. It's just a money grab. (I understand that this affects only new plans.) Somebody has to pay for the $Billions that AT&T threw away attempting to swallow TMobile!

    While I'm on my soapbox, I frankly think it should be illegal for AT&T to force you to have a data plan just because you connect a smart phone to their network. I should be able to have them block all data to/from my smartphone and use only wifi, where available.

    Maybe that could be a great Android app? Something that makes the phone look to AT&T like an old Nokia "dumb" phone (and puts NO data onto the cellular network) and works like a smartphone on wifi.... Just a thought, even if not a good one. ;)
  • Willhouse - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I agree on the wifi-only phone. I've resisted and persuaded my wife not to buy a smartphone because there's no low usage plan that is reasonably priced ($20/month is too high). Also, my wife is resistant to switching to any carrier other than Verizon, so that doesn't help.

    I have internet at home and work; I can live without it traveling between the two. If I'm out with the kids, I don't have time to utilize data on my cell phone. It would be neat to have a more fully functioning phone, and there are some situation where having access to the internet while out would be useful, but those instances aren't frequent enough to pay the (what I consider) high prices.
  • DanNeely - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    Most of the $15/20/mo "data plan" is actually the higher device subsidy for a smart phone vs a much cheaper feature phone. Whether you pay the extra several hundred bucks up front or amortized over the lift of the contract the total additional price would end up being about the same.

    If it's just a matter of principle that has you balking at paying monthly; ATTs still apparently not forcing people who buy a used smartphone and move their sim into it to buy a data plan.
  • rdes - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    This is actually incorrect, I resisted going to a smart phone for a long time, we had unlimited data on our family talk plan for all (non-smart) phones on the plan for like $25 a month (not per phone) and that was great. I upgraded to the Samsung Blackjack (Windows Mobile) years ago and at the time it was a grey area phone, I'm not sure if I was supposed to have a separate data plan for the phone or not, but I never got one, and it was never forced on me. 2 years later I upgraded to another Samsung phone (eclipse, eternity... e... something), this one a touch screen, running one of Samsung's proprietary OSs (not considered a 'smart' phone) and continued to run under the unlimited data plan that covered all non smart phones on our family talk plan for $25. One day (a year and a half or so later) I wanted to test something using my old phone, so I swapped the sim card back did a couple things, and within a matter of a couple hours or so I received a text from AT&T saying that my data plan was insufficient for the phone I was using, and I would automatically be 'upgraded' to the midrange smartphone plan. So buying a used or new no-contract phone does not prevent you from paying the data plan, even if they have no money loss to make up. Reply
  • Ronakbhai - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    I was just thinking the same thing. The truth about the "we're saving you money" comes out now. And unfortunately, this is probably not the end. They probably originally intended for most users to spend $50 a month on just data, so they set a 4 year goal on achieving that, starting with "we're saving you money". Reply
  • Lonyo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    So, 3GB for $30, or 5GB for $50.
    And $10/GB if you go over your cap...

    Am I correct?

    So no discounts at all for buying plans, the only incentive you get is tethering, which is only available on the top tier plan.

    Most of the time when you move up a plan of any sort, you get more per dollar, rather than the same per dollar.
    $10/GB for each of these plans is dumb.
  • peldor - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    It makes a lot more sense if you read it as "AT&T's new master plan" rather than just a "new data plan". Reply
  • Kung Lau - Saturday, January 21, 2012 - link

    Does this mean that the grandfathered unlimited plan ($30) is not eligible for tethering since there is a $50 plan? Reply
  • rdes - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    If you already HAD tethering, you SHOULD still continue to get it. Reply

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