AT&T Chicago store (interior 001)

AT&T announced this afternoon that it will be ‘streamlining’ the plans that it offers to its new customers later this month. That’s essentially corporate jargon for ‘getting rid of,’ and in this case it refers to per-device data plans.

Starting October 25, the carrier will no longer offer traditional monthly voice and data plans to new customers. Instead they will have to choose from one of the newer mobile share plans, which come with various levels of data…

From AT&T’s consumer blog (via Engadget):

“Beginning Oct. 25, we’re streamlining the plans we offer new customers. Our customers have expressed an overwhelming preference for simplified options that allow them to share data across multiple devices. New customers will have the choice of any of our Mobile Share plans, which start as low as $50 a month for a basic phone or $70 a month for a smartphone – both of which include unlimited talk and text and 300MB of data that can be shared***. In 95 percent of the new customer scenarios, Mobile Share offers the same or better price with additional value.   

For current customers, there is no change. They can choose to switch to Mobile Share, or they can continue to enjoy, upgrade or downgrade their existing plan. Unlike some wireless providers, none of our customers will be forced to switch plans if they’d like to stick with what they have – even when upgrading to a new device.”

As an AT&T customer on an old unlimited data plan, I’m glad to hear that nothing will change on our end—even when/if I decide to upgrade my phone. Here’s hoping that this remains the carrier’s policy for the foreseeable future.

For reference, here are AT&T’s Share plans:

att share

AT&T introduced these plans late last summer, following a similar move by Verizon. And since Big Red made them mandatory for new customers upon introduction, we figured it would only be a matter of time before it followed suit.

The two carriers seem to be moving in the opposite direction of T-Mobile, who not only still offers unlimited data plans, but recently announced it would be offering free data in over 100 countries. It’ll be interesting to see how they do.