at&t logoBetter late than never! AT&T finally announced an official tethering plan for its wireless customers, including iPhone customers. The long-awaited new tethering option comes with the variable pricing plans AT&T CEO had pre-announced a few months ago. These new data plans will replace the “unlimited data plan” that current iPhone owners in the US are on.

All these new plans will be available on June 7. Does this date ring a bell? Yes, it’s the opening day of the WWDC where Steve Jobs will announce the new iPhone.

You will now have the choice between 2 data plans. Tethering will be an additional option. Here is the details about each plan.

DataPlus

This is the basic entry plan. It provides 200 MB of data for $15/month. According to AT&T, 65% of their customers will fall under this plan.

If you choose to go with DataPlus and you go over your 200 MB, you will be charged another $15 for another 200 MB of data. Sounds pretty fair to me.

DataPro

The name says it all. This plan is for the data hungry users. It comes with 2 GB of data for $25/month. According to  AT&T, only 2% of their customers will fall into this category.

Should you go over your 2 GB, you will be charged an extra $10 for another GB of data. Again, that is very fair.

Tethering

Tethering on your iPhone will come at a hefty price of $20/month, on top of your DataPro plan. What does this mean? It means that in order to get tethering on your iPhone, you will have to sign up for the $25 2 GB DataPro plan plus pay an additional $20 to “activate” the tethering option.

Signing up for tethering doesn’t entitle you to more data usage. Every byte of data used under tethering will be directly taken from you DataPro plan.

Tethering will be available when iPhone OS 4 comes out.

I don’t think that’s a very fair deal and I’ll most likely stick to MyWi for my tethering needs.

What happens to your old unlimited data plan?

The good news for those of you who use more data than these plans can offer is that you can keep your unlimited data plan. But if you want to use the official tethering option, you’ll have to give it up for the DataPro plan.

I don’t use much data so I know I’ll be switching to the DataPlus plan and save myself $15/month.

What about iPad data plans?

According to AT&T, “for new iPad customers, the $25 per month 2 GB plan will replace the existing $29.99 unlimited plan. iPad customers will continue to pre-pay for their wireless data plan and no contract is required. Existing iPad customers who have the $29.99 per month unlimited plan can keep that plan or switch to the new $25 per month plan with 2 GB of data.”

Free wifi at 20,000 AT&T hotspots

AT&T wireless customers will still get access to their network of over 20,000 wifi hotspots. That means that as long as you’re paying a data plan, you can get free unlimited access to any AT&T wifi hotspots in the US (good deal for you if you live close to one of these hotspots and get signal in your home).

Monitoring and managing data usage

Since there won’t be unlimited plans anymore (except for those who choose to stay on them), you will now have to closely monitor your data usage.

AT&T will help you by sending you text message and email alerts. You will get an alert after you reach 65%, 90%, and 100% of the treshold.

Additionally, you can download the free AT&T myWireless application from the App Store that allows you to keep an eye on your voice and data usage.

Conclusion

All in all, I think it is a great move from AT&T. Sure there will be the few usual customers that get pissed at the pricing plan changes but the majority of AT&T customers should find these new plans to their liking as most of us will get to save a few bucks each month.

As for tethering though, I think AT&T should have offered a little extra to those who choose to activate the option. With an additional $20/month for tethering, I would have hoped to be offered an extra 2 GB of data. As I said above though, that doesn’t bother me too much as I’ll stick to the “unofficial” tethering with MyWi.

What do you think?

Now that I gave you the details of the new data pricing plans, I would like to hear your thoughts about them. Are you one of those customers that will save money each month? Or are you one of the very very few that will have to pay more?

I look forward to reading what you think.

  • kayren

    I think I am going to save money each month by going to the 200 mb plan. I am going to look back over the past year and see how much data I am currently using monthly.

    I think it’s completely unfair for AT&T to charge an additional $20 monthly to tether, especially since the usage cap stays the same. That’s really unfair to the customer and will just result in more people jailbreaking and using MyWi.

  • “DataPro

    The name says it all. This plan is for the data hungry users. It comes with 2 GB of data for $25/month. According to AT&T, only 2% of their customers will fall into this category.”

    From other articles I’ve read, AT&T says that 98% of their customers fall under 2GB/month, leaving only 2% of their customers who would need to buy additional data.

    The tethering fee is a joke. Data are data. If they want to cap data, fine. But charging for tethering is asinine.

  • Mix N Match

    I have the Verizon MiFi. I love that thing! Yes, it was a 2 yr contract, and I do pay a pretty high monthly fee for it. But I use it for my non 3G iPad and my iPhone and my laptop (away from home). As with most “unlimited” plans for data….it still caps at 5GB.
    So for me, I may well change my ATT iPhone plan to the DataPlus plan, save a couple bucks there, and sit back and love the fact my MiFi is awesome for all else….including coverage areas. I refuse to pay that $20 tether fee for ATT when, as Ryan pointed out, there is no extra data for that fee, and that IS asinine.

    I find both ATT & Verizon offer unique options, and right now, my set up is the best! When my iPhone or iPad can’t connect via ATT, my MiFi does the job perfectly….and VERY fast!
    Research your options, folks.
    I had the iPad 3gs on order….but a tech at a local (large) retailer chatted with me about the whole “save $150 on the non-3GS iPad, get the MiFi” thing.
    I already had the MiFi, so it was a perfect solution for me…..simply because you can connect up to 5 units to the MiFi at once (when the MiFi is not directly connected via USB cable to your laptop).

    And, I got the MiFi for free with my contract…..totally sweet. And since there is no 4G in my state (like Sprint’s similar unit offers)…. and when looking at the coverage maps (again…do your research!!)…..the MiFi was a no-brainer.

    When the day ever comes that 4G is available here…great…unlimited will allegedly be unlimited. Till then….from what I’ve learned, all 3G is still capped at 5GB.
    With that….why downgrade to 2GB, and still pay almost the same monthly fee for DataPro?

    I have 5GB of usage. Now I’ll just have the option to cut back on my iPhone data plan, save a buck or two, and use it toward my Verizon bill. 😉

    Good luck figuring out your best plan! 🙂

  • Brian

    ATT SUCKS!! So glad I am not with them! Funny how they make this sound like it is a good thing. And maybe it is for those who use very little data but for those that dont use much data, it is quite expensive just to send e-mails, view a few webpages and etc..How do they claim that the $25 2g limit plan is a BETTER plan then the 29.99 unlimited data plan for ipad? Thats crazy! unlimited was only 29 but for $4 less they think a 2g limit is better? Crazy that they announced the data plan prices just recently, but have now changed it, and not for the better. I also know this….I have both unlimited voice and data and I really don’t need it. The only reason I have it is because I refuse to be one of these people who has to constantly monitor their usage or limit their usage if they see they are getting close to their limit..nor do I want to go thru the hassles of not knowing exactly how much my bill will be each month….I see this blowing up in ATT’s face. Most everybody is migrating towards the world of ‘unlimited’..and one of the main reasons why is nowadays people are very busy..far too busy to waste time monitoring voice and data usage on their phone or wasting time on the phone with your carrier trying to figure out the charges on your bill..PLusd and this is a biggie…If I am talking or using data I refuse to sit here with the “I need to keep this short” in the back of my head everytime I make a call or use the internet, which will happen..if you are unlimited you do not have this thought constantly in your head….But even with 10,000 voice minutes and 500G of data (thats alot for both!!) most will still always have the ‘keep it short’ in the backs of their head when talking or using data……Nope, I think this is an EPIC FAIL for ATT and persoanlly, I hope people leave ATT in truckloads to teach them a lesson….I also dont understand why APPLE is standing for this…GUARANTEED they knew this was coming and likely they approved it..I cant see ATT making this change without APPLE knowing and agreeing to it…With that said, I hope people chuck their iphones and go with any number of phones that are better, imo…..Somehow these goliath companies need to realize that without us as customers, they would not be in business!

  • NonoKurd

    When iPhone 3G was launched in Canada, Rogers came under lot of fire for not offering unlimited data. Looks like ATT decided to follow Robbers’ approach and start charging for everything. This is a sad day for us Canadians because we lost a powerful argument against our providers.

  • Juan

    Their tier plans seem very reasonable although I think there should also be a 500MB plan. But I’m usually under 200MB unless vacationing so the $15/mo should suffice. I’ve never gone over 400MB

    As far as tethering.. I’ll never pay that. Why should I? It’s freely available in the jailbreak community. $20/mo extra for no extra data. It’s nothing more than “permission” to connect my laptop to my phone for use with data I’ve already committed to. A one time activation fee should suffice.

  • Bill

    I’ll keep MyWi. ATT has to make those that tether pay thru the nose or else they will be swamped with Data. I can afford an extra 5 bucks a month for the 5 GB plan. These days that’s peanuts and it’s nice to know I have it on tap. And now that I’ve gotten off my butt and got wifi at home it’s all good; no worries of going over 5 GB limit.

  • Nick

    Myself personally i dont know how much 2 gbs of data will go for me so im going to stay with my unlimited plan, but then idk will i still be able to get the iphone 4g? if i cant then i will go to the 2gb datapro but if not then i guess im stuck. im very disappointed in this why couldnt att just provide a family data package like they do for txting if they did so many more people would get iphones that dont who dont want to pay 30 dollars per phone. like my neighbors they only have one iphone because of that and said if they offered a family plan then all of them would have iphones but oh well the people working at att apparently dont have to worry about that kind of stuff.

  • thefallen

    Wow! You guys must have some spy on AT&T or something! We were just told today! Lol!

  • iPhoNerd

    Uh!!! Eversince I read this news on endgadget early morning I was like .. Finally!!!! For the last 2+yrs I never used more than 150MB a month paying 30 bucks a month. This is a good sign that now I can pay half of it and I can still use the way I used data before 🙂 I was jealouse that my wife was paying only 15 and was using way more than me a month on her nexus one on att … I don’t need tethering and even if I need it ever I can add n remove anytime I want as per att documentation 🙂

  • Wikan

    Damn, that’s some harsh plan you got in the states. I pay 10 dollars a month for unlimited usage in Sweden with a jailbroken phone so no trouble tethering.

  • thefallen

    I’m just gonna say this, not because I work for AT&T, but because we have to be real…

    Not EVERYBODY uses tethering… People complain about AT&T being a piece of shit, network sucks blah blah… NO CELLPHONE COMPANY IN THE US can SUPPORT everything the iPhone demands. Tethering and heavy users make the network slow. Too much traffic. Period. The company is working hard on it because people keep bitching about it. That been said, there is a loooooooot of customers that average around 250-400 MB of data usage per month. So… why bitching about not having unlimited data per month when realistically speaking, NOBODY that uses the phone for browsing, social networking and email will go over 2 GBs per month?

    I’m just saying…

  • Peter

    I have the unlimited data plan currently and I was wondering does AT&T charge extra to run mywi?

  • thefallen

    @Peter

    i use MyWi too and data runs under mobile plan. In other words, no extra charge 😉

  • iPhoNerd

    actually I agree with “thefallen”. ATT did this change after doing a study on the usage of data plan on smart phones. 65% of the smartphone data plan users utilize less than 200mb a month. and 98% people use less than 2gb data a month. So why crying for unlimited? I think that the current pricing is fair for everybody at least for the time being. Who knows what happens next?

  • Bill

    Mix n Match I don’t think it is a no brainer if you are paying $60 per month for MiFi. I can tether more than one device, say, my Sony Z and my Macbook Pro with my iPhone 3gs via MiWi and the total cost including all taxes, surcharges and misc fees come to only $82.
    My contract is $40 voice and $30 5GB umlimited. So all I am doing is carrying around my jailbroken iPhone 3gs and I can put my friends laptops/iPads, etc, on the internet if I so choose. Personally though I think I’m well under 2 GB now that I’ve installed Wifi at home. But I have no reall grievances about ATT’s new offer, especially since they say those with the $30 contract will not be forced to go to the 2GB $25 contract. Why moan about thier offers if you can jailbreak and stick with the plans you already have. And as a side note, before I had WiFi I went over the 5GB limit; either they were kind enough to let it go or they missed it; either way I think in my case right now I have no cause to leave ATT.

  • iPhoNerd

    Just and update: today my wife got sms from ATT saying that an appropriate data plan as been added to her account. (she is using nexus one for ATT) and was paying $15 (traditional) data plan. This means Google handed over IMEI information to ATT or they have acquire the information from somewhere else. Anyways, she can switch back to $15 200MB data plan on or after 7th June as per ATT’s new dataplan notification, I guess.

  • J

    I use about 400 per mth. on my phone and I use my laptop for browsing and my school work. I pay 60 for my air card and 30 for my iPhone. Would I be better off just paying 45 and tethering?

    • J

      400 MB

  • Bill

    For an ATT data plan on your iPhone you will have to pay $40 per month plus the tethering fee added to your $30 per month voice plan and the data limit is only 2 GB. So I would stick with what I have if I were you.

  • Bill

    Oops my bad; the data plan fee is changed. Sorry I just woke up from bed…

  • 3dw4rd

    not unlimited data, but this was good news…

    i just added a 5th line AT/T family plan (3 blackberrys & 2 iphones)
    data was $15/month/line (for 200MB each…this would total 1GB for $75)
    – changed to new family data plan – $25/month shared (2GB total)

    – happy with this – paying 1/3 price of previous plan & getting twice the data