AT&T

AT&T today has become the second U.S. carrier to announce shared data plans, wherein multiple devices consume a limited amount of data for a single fee. The plans will be available in late August.

AT&T notes that these plans are not mandatory; it's not moving anyone to them unless they want to. If you have unlimited data now, you'll still have it in August, when shared data becomes available. Same goes for AT&T's current tiered plans.

There can be as many as 10 devices attached to a shared plan, and one of those devices must be a smartphone. The shared plans include tethering and unlimited voice calls and texts. There are six tiers of service, starting at $40 for 1 gigabyte of data and ranging to $200 for 20 gigabytes of data. As each data bucket increases, the cost per device drops, but only for the first three buckets. If you go over your data allotment, each addition gigabyte costs $15.

It's a little confusing, yeah, especially compared to Verizon's shared plans. Let's break it down a little more.

Amount of data in plan Cost for data Cost for each device Base total
1GB $40 $45 $85
4GB $70 $40 $110
6GB $90 $35 $125
10GB $120 $30 $150
15GB $160 $30 $190
20GB $200 $30 $230

Basic and "quick messaging" phones each add another $30 to your monthly bill. Laptops and data cards run $20, and tablets add $10 a month.

Verizon in June announced it, too, was adding shared data plans as an option. Data buckets range from $50 for 1 gigabyte of data to 10 gigabytes for $100 a month, with added fees for each smartphone and tablet attached to the plan.

We've got AT&T's complete press release after the break.

AT&T GIVES CUSTOMERS MORE CHOICE WITH NEW SHARED WIRELESS DATA PLANS

New Mobile Share Plans Allow Customers to Easily Share Data Across Smartphones, Tablets and Other Devices

New and Current Customers Not Required To Choose or Switch to Shared Plans

DALLAS, JULY 18, 2012 — AT&T* customers will soon have more options in choosing the plan that’s right for them and their mobile devices. With new AT&T Mobile Share plans, available in late August, new and existing customers can share a single bucket of data across smartphones, tablets, and other compatible devices, plus get unlimited talk and text. AT&T Mobile Share plans make it easy for customers to manage their data, voice minutes and texting, without needing to keep track of multiple plans.

Customers can select one of the new shared data plans or choose one of AT&T’s existing individual or family plans. Current customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension. There are no changes to AT&T’s device upgrade policy, which means customers eligible to upgrade to AT&T’s best device price are not required to switch plans. The new plans will also be available for business customers.

With AT&T Mobile Share plans, customers start by choosing how much data they want each month, then choose up to 10 devices to attach to their shared plan, one of which must be a smartphone. Each plan includes tethering and unlimited domestic calls and texts for smartphones and basic or quick messaging phones. The larger the data bucket you choose, the less you pay per gigabyte and the less you pay for each smartphone added to the shared plan.


AT&T Mobile Share allows customers to essentially build a plan to fit their devices and usage. Customers who are more data-centric can choose a larger data bucket. Customers who typically use more voice than data can add multiple smartphones and basic phones and opt for a smaller data bucket.

“We offer customers a broad choice and the best lineup of plans, now enhanced by Mobile Share,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. “With these new plans, the more you share, the more you save. They’ll be a good fit for a variety of new and existing customers. But if customers want to stay on their current plan or choose from our existing plans, they can do that, too. It’s their choice. 

“Today we think of people’s smartphones and tablets sharing a bucket of data. But in the future we’ll see health care monitors, connected cars, security systems and other devices in the home all connected to the mobile Internet,” said Christopher. “Our Mobile Share plans are simple, easy and a great value for individuals or families with multiple mobile Internet devices.”

Mobile Share plans give customers more control over how, where and on what device they use data — which has become more important as people use more data devices. You can choose to use more of your data bucket on your tablet, for example, or tap into your databucket only when needed for devices you use occasionally. And by consolidating data plans, you can take advantage of any data you currently have unused each month by efficiently sharing it across devices.

“The ‘more you share, the more you save’ concept is one that will resonate well with customers because of the value provided through the Mobile Share data plans themselves and in smartphone connection fees,” said Roger Entner, Founder and Lead Analyst of Recon Analytics. “AT&T also is providing its customers with flexibility and choice by keeping its existing data plans and not requiring customers to move to Mobile Share unless they want to. It’s a win-win for both AT&T and its customers.”

To help customers track their data usage, AT&T keeps users informed with courtesy alerts as they near their data allowance for the month. Also, customers can check their usage at anytime online, through the myAT&T mobile app, or by calling *DATA# from their mobile phone.

Each data plan also includes access to more than 30,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots — the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network** among wireless carriers — at no additional charge. Wi-Fi usage at public hotspots, home or office does not count toward the monthly wireless data plan usage.

Customers can learn more about the new plans and determine which plan is best for them at www.att.com/mobileshare.

 

Reader comments

AT&T announces shared data plans - not forcing anyone to switch though

59 Comments

If 10GB isn't enough for you, Verizon lets you add additional 2GB buckets for $10 each. 20GB would cost you $150.

Sure, a shared data plan might be nice for some. Unless you really want text messaging (I use google voice instead) you're going to be overpaying using the shared method.

bingo right there. It is really a rip off not a cost saving. I was looking at that cost and it is cheaper for my family to keep things split. Lets see unlimited text message for the family 30 bucks a month. We have the lowest minute plan we can get and still get 3/4 of them into role over. Why the hell would we want to switch over to something that would cost us more money again for less?

Tablets and gaming devices (PSVita) are why this plan makes sense. For only $10 bucks each tablet to share the data across multiple tablets and gaming devices, it would get a lot of people to buy iPads and Android tablets so they can be shared.

I might switch to this and add 2 tablets, depending how my employee discount plays out.

If you don't like the new plans, you don't have to switch, even when you upgrade.

Yeah, unless I'm not following the plans, this is extremely expensive. With corp discount, I get 2G/month for about $25/month/smartphone - THAT'S IT. Even tethered through my phone when I can't connect to customer networks, I've barely exceeded 1G/month, and they've never called me on doing that or required separate plan. My wife and son probably only use 0.5G/month. Unlimited txt maybe is a $5 or $10/phone adder, still... If they could bundle it to allow me to run my whole home network with whatever they call the personal cell tower/ mifi type unit and drop my cable company broadband, but guess there's more adders there. Not sure what I'm missing, this seems ridiculously $high.
I guess there's way more folks than I realize constantly streaming movies and such. Maybe when I get a tab I'll do that more, but still seems I'd do most of that through wifi.

ADS

With 3 smartphones and 1gb of data - same as my current plan on Verizon - AT&T's price is about $160, not including taxes or any corporate discount. I currently pay about $159 on Verizon with a 15% discount with all taxes included. AT&T gets cheaper if you keep the same amount of data but add more phones, but only if those phones are smartphones. I don't like that AT&T doesn't have a 2gb option since that makes it a $30 jump between data buckets instead of 10 for Verizon.

I know everyone will say 1gb is not enough for 3 phones, but the other two family members on my plan use a combined 100mb a month. I used 500mb. Having wifi around most of the time and avoiding streaming anything on mobile data makes staying under the cap easy.

... until someone discovers a video or music app they like lol :)

You may be making it now, but having three smart phones on 1gb shared is cutting it pretty close.
Either of those two people that only use 100mb each discovers a new app and your over your cap. As much as I don't like Verizon's new plans at least you can add an additional gig for $10 not have to jump to 4GB for $30 more.

Naw, the other users barely understand they have smartphones (well, they have iPhones, maybe that's the problem). And they don't use 100mb each, they use 100mb *combined*. We used a total of 700mbs last month, and that was with no wifi over a weekend because of that huge power outage that hit the DC area.

Thing is, as long as I keep an eye on our usage, I can always just increase our data allowance and back date it to the beginning of the month without extra fees. So, If I see we are over 1gb, I can just bump us up to 2gb for $10 more.

I can actually increase the data to 8gb of share data in a month and still pay less than I was paying before, and we used to have 8gb of total data before (2, 2, and 4gb). Makes sense to me that I can save money every month we have low data usage (should be just about every month) and still have the option of getting 8x as much data for the same price I used to pay.

I understand the need to avoid streaming to save money, but the extra few bucks you spend might make your life a lot more enjoyable. Streaming Google Music or YouTube comes in very handy for me on the go.

I've found that bit of preparation negates the need for lots of data. I use MOG, and though I'm not a big fan of the UI, I can easily compile many playlists, download them to my phone, and play them without using data. I've never been a big user of YouTube, icanhascheezburger.com can easily fill my need to get a laugh on the go. Most of my data is used updating Pulse/Currents, reading email, and the occassional tethering to download work related documents. So I've love more data, unlimited would be great, but I think its pretty easy to get by without it and still not miss out on the fun stuff.

Realized I was a bit wrong on this. For 3 phones with 1 gb of data I'd pay $175 (40+45+45+45) before taxes and corporate discount. Seems like AT&T is more expensive for lower data usage and more phones.

I like that they are keeping individual plans for new customers as well as current ones. Not all of us have 10 devices,etc.......

It could be a very compelling reason for people to buy tablets, though. I think this is where the push is going to be made.

Don't know if AT&T charges for hotspot or tethering (or whether iphones can do this), but I don't see a reason to ever add a tablet anymore since you can just hotspot/tether a tablet using your phone. I tether my GNEX to my laptop whenever I need to use the internet for work on the train, will do the same for my tablet when travelling.

Except that there is no compelling reason for other than a wifi tablet, as the market has clearly demonstrated.
With most people avoiding data plans for tablets (even waiting for wifi only tablets when 3G models are released first), virtually no one cares to shlep tablets around.

Every early adaptor of 3G tablets that I have known has dropped the data plan in favor of wifi the minute they realized the tablet never gets out of wifi range.

I switched to Verizon's new shared plan with 3 lines. I'm saving $40 a month now and I have unlimited minutes from 1400 and mobile hotspot free on all the phones. If AT&Ts is similar to Verizon's, you NEED to look into it if you have a family plan.

Well thats the problem. The NEW plans ONLY benefit the people that have multiple lines and/or multiple devices. If you are a single line, single device custoemr you are going to pay MUCH MORE on VZW! ATT is not much better since you still have no option for unlimited data and the tiered plans are overpriced.

Out of my 20 closest friends, I think only ONE would fall into that multiple line/multipe device category. Factor that in with the loss of unlimited data to a tiered structure and those 19 friends would pay much more on the new tiered plans. Anyone that I know that has multiple devices have that additional line from their job, so it would not be part of their peronal account.

I did a comparison for myself on the new VZW plans based on what I use per month, and I would pay about $50 MORE per month for my account.

The ONLY reson that these companies are giving unlimited minutes is because there is a huge trend in the wireless inductry overall where voice minutes usage is quickly decreasing. So its a marketing ploy to give unlimited voice and messaging since customer are using less every month anyway. The carriers make money on data!

You are acting like the current single line plans are going away.....they are not, per the press release.

You know the only reason people seem to need less voice minutes on their Plans is not because they're talking less,it's because there's more free mobile-to-mobile features offered in todays' cell plans.

I agree. I was thinking about switching to the T-Mobile 100 minute plan with unlimited text and 5 GB of full speed data from Verizon. When I initially looked at my usage my first impression was that it would be feasible for me because I only go over 100 minutes two or three times a year.... but that is wrong. Those were my ANYTIME minutes. I used 200-300 more minutes a month on mobile-to-mobile and night/weekends.

Verizon's Share Everything plans are not an option, as Phil states. They are the only available plans for new customers on VZW.

That's not true. As Phil says above, "Verizon in June announced it, too, was adding shared data plans as an option."

I just went to the Verizon website, selected a smartphone and new customer and had the option to choose a shared data plan or individual. The individual plans are listed below starting at $30 for 2GB (copied directly from Verizon's website):

Data Packages with Mobile Hotspot
12GB Data Bundle with Personal Email & Mobile Hotspot $100.00/month
7GB Data Bundle with Personal Email & Mobile Hotspot $70.00/month
4GB Data Bundle with Personal Email & Mobile Hotspot $50.00/month
Data Packages
10GB Data Bundle with Personal Email $80.00/month
10GB Data Bundle with Corporate Email $80.00/month
5GB Data Bundle with Personal Email $50.00/month
5GB Data Bundle with Corporate Email $50.00/month
2GB Data Bundle with Corporate Email $45.00/month
2GB Data Bundle with Personal Email $30.00/month

I think there must be a glitch on the site or something if that showed up for you. According to Verizon's own training literature the new Shared plans are the only ones available to new customers, however existing customers can keep their old plans, modify the minute, text, and data allotments, etc and can even add lines to existing family plans but new customers MUST select one of the new plans.

I just did what you did and all I get are the shared everything plans

O.o this plan system makes my head hurt lol the new verizon plans are simple and easy

i have 3 smart phones and 1 basic messaging phone on my current bill so if i was to jump to the share plan .. what am i looking at ?

the 4 gig of data a month is plenty for us ( could get by with 2 or 3 even better

I'm having a difficult time seeing any sort of value proposition here (for the consumer, anyway). For example, I have three smartphones on my plan and family unlimited texting. Assuming 3GB each for the phones (two are grandfathered "unlimited), that's $120 for 9GB of total data and unlimited texting. To get the same amount of total data with these, it would cost $210.

Even the example they use on their site doesn't make sense. Two smartphones (with unlimited texting) and a tablet sharing 6GB of data costs $170 on these plans, but would only cost $120 now and they get 3GB each.

Adding tons of devices to the plan doesn't make the value much better, either. Two smartphones and three tablets sharing 15GB costs $250. Putting all five devices on their normal plans only costs $150.

What am I missing?

You are leaving out the "talk" portion in the pricing of the non-shared plans in your examples. You bring up having three smartphones with data and unlimited text being $120... but what about voice?

Without the new shared plans this is what a person would pay for 3 smartphones with unlimited talk and text with data plans (3 GB each):

Unlimited Talk on all three lines with family plan: $169
Unlimited Text as a family: $30
Data (3GB package)x 3: $90
Total: $289

New plans:

10 GB Data = $150
Unlimted Talk and Text on 3 smartphones = $90
Total: $240

Savings of almost $50 per month.

Almost NOBODY needs unlimited talk on a family plan. Even when my youngest was overboard with multiple women and endless friends, he learned to do all that crap during off hours. I've got 2100 minutes, 3 smart phones, 2G each, 1 dumbphone, unlimited txt on all. with corp discount right at $200/month. Probably have never used more than 2G total in a month either. This new plan makes NO sense unless maybe you're a data hog, I didn't run those numbers.
Most folks on these shared plans probably like me, they need NO MORE minutes or data, just a way to use more devices to share the data. At these prices, I won't add anything other than wireless tabs NOT purchased through AT&T or used on their network.

ADS

Explain how this would be cheaper.
Family Talk-700 minutes w/rollover =$60.00
Family Unlimited Messaging =$30.00
1. Smartphone, 3GB a month =$30.00
2. Smartphone, 300MB a month =$20 +$9.99(additional line)
3. Basic phone =$9.99
4. Feature phone =$9.99

Let's leave ta es and all other BS charges out of it, that adds up to $170 a month. Add an additional $20-30 for data overages (we live in the boonies and my phone is my only internet connection), and my bill runs roughly $200 a month for about 6GB of data.

To get the same 6GB would now be $90 a month, plus $35 per device would equal around $230. So for an extra $10 or so a month I get tethering? If that phone fee wasn't $35 a pop I might be a little more interested.
The way I have it now, I basicly only pay for the data I'm USING. By not upping to the 5GB @$50 plan, I get billed in $10 increments for anything over 3GB. But if I only use 4gigs I'm only charged $40 instead the fifty for unused data.

Actually your two basic/feature phones would be $30/month, not $35.

To get the same 6GB with unlimited talk and text you would pay:

2 Smartphones w/unlimited talk and text = $70
2 feature phones w/unlimited talk and text = $60
6 GB of shared data = $90
Total = $220

It is at least $20/month more than you pay now and may not be worth it to you.

I do too! I am still on Unlimited Data(and will be until they decide to cancel it altogether or force Full Phone prices) but would switch to a tiered plan if I could roll over my data and not be throttled. Most months, I use around 2 GB but sometimes use around 3.5 GB. If they had a $20(I know this low of a price will NEVER happen)/3 GB+rollver data plan, I would switch.

I'm glad I'm with Sprint. AT&T and Verizon are just massive ripoffs. Oh and no, my data speeds don't suck and no, I don't have signal issues either.

I just added it up. For me, the first 3 plans would all total roughly $230 giving the ludicrous "device fee".
However, I could get 10gigs a month and in it'd only cost me basicly $10 extra per month before taxes and other fees.

I just wish providers would go the pay-per-use route like the electric company...

Ok so the breakdown.

+ Start of the 3g network
+ Everyone needs data and it is cheap and we are the fast.
+ Our network is getting full so speed can be slow.
+ We didn't get along with the FCC and Tmob so no more unlimited data.
+ Data plans clog up our towers and you don't need much data.
+ Catch22 in the agreements allows for lawsuits = unlimited throttling to be raised to the same *as highest available plan*
+ Pricing structure for data is redone. Cheaper plans are done away with.

New idea for marketing..
+ You need data and now you can group it like your voice plan and share data. We have plenty of data to spare.
Please pay out the wazoo for the data plan while we make it cheaper to transmit your data.

Really? Shame Shame Shame on both verizon and at&t for fleecing people with this. Voice plans have steadily went down in price per minute so too should the data packages. And if your saying or thinking "what could we do about it" Call the "coporate" office and complain to marketing. They can not deny you a lawsuit, bring them to court and see if they can explain why they are charging more per gb of data.

TBH IMHO If they are going to nickel and dime the data plans why not have them bill me for the data I actually use. They track and sort your usage on the network (advertisements, downloading, teathering, app downoad). Therfore I should only be billed for actual data usage not for background usage that I can not control (without rooting and infringing on other apps) including apps that are bundled with the phone that run background data operations.

These plans actually make more sense than Verizon's if your in a family plan. I switched to AT&T 2 days ago from Verizon (yes left my unlimited data to be off the CDMA crap) this is the plan I got...

2 Lines-

-$69.99 (Minus my discount)
-$30 Unlimited text
-$50 5GB data plan for my first line (comes out to $42 because my of discount).
-$30 3GB data plan for the second line (My discount does not work on this data plan).

My bill comes out to about $170

With the 10GB family package It will be $180 minus my discount which means more data for me since my wife only uses 1GB a month. Really not bad if your on a family plan.

NOW ITS NOT TO BAD SINCE THEY AREN'T FORCING YOU TO SWITCH LIKE VERIZON IS (OF-COURSE MAKING YOU BUY A NEW PHONE AT FULL RETAIL)!

Actually you would have saved money staying with Verizon and just changing your plan. For one thing you lost your unlimited data anyway. You would have gotten off of CDMA had you gotten an LTE phone and the breakdown would have saved you money. You got 2 smartphones and 8GB of data at AT&T and after your discount you pay $170. You would have paid $170 BEFORE your discount at Verizon. $40 for 2 smartphones= $80 and the 8GB data plan is $90 and then you get your discount off of the $90. Good luck paying more for less service and trying to justify it to yourself.

Unlocked phone like a Nexus. Good luck paying full retail. I've also had LTE phones since the first one. CDMA is garbage.

Where did you find that info? That's one of the reasons I haven't updated because I use my air card for my Internet and I will need more than 10GB

No they don't. The 10GB plan is the largest they have at this time. Other larger plans are being considered but nothing is available yet. If you want greater than 10GB then you add $10 for 2GB extra.

EDIT: I see the confusion here, the website does seem to show higher plans but really all the are is the extra $10 for each 2GB so it's really just how they show it on the site.

If Sprint get the LTE network up and running and keeps the family Everything Data w/ Unlimited data, these will be the plans to beat. even with the $10 premium data add-on, each added phone is only $30 a month with unlimited data. If Sprint could get iPads and other tablets with LTE and you are able to add them for $30 a month AND be able to add customers and improve their financials? This would make ATT and VZW take notice.

I know, I'm dreaming......

Especially with plan discounts!!

I would love answers to the following two questions

1) How will the corporate discounts apply? On Verizon it is only on the data pricing not on the per line. Is AT&T going to do the same or are they going to apply it to the entire bill?

2) On there website it says that if you "need access to corporate e-mail you need an Enterprise DataPro Plan" yet it states that these plans will be avaliable for business customers as well in the press release. Will I not be able to access my exchange server on this plan? Which doesn't make sense if you are offering it to business customers.

It does seem for people were this plan does make sense that Verizon has the better pricing on the large buckets of minutes but you are stuck on CDMA's pathetic speed if you aren't on there LTE network.

1.0I am curious about that myself. I know on Verizon you get it on the plan (the data portion) only.

2. As I understand it no you cant access Exchange on this plan and an Enterprise specific model will be made available soon, hopefully by the time these launch in August. Not all business customers need Exchange, but yes it does seem odd.

I am making the plan switch on the 22nd when my new month starts. I presently pay after discount 163. I have the current 900 friends family plan unlimited texting and the jetpack for my laptop and tablet.
The new share everything will bring my bill to around 135 with taxes. Getting 6gig. Will save and am glad.

I am making the plan switch on the 22nd when my new month starts. I presently pay after discount 163. I have the current 900 friends family plan unlimited texting and the jetpack for my laptop and tablet.
The new share everything will bring my bill to around 135 with taxes. Getting 6gig. Will save and am glad.

I am making the plan switch on the 22nd when my new month starts. I presently pay after discount 163. I have the current 900 friends family plan unlimited texting and the jetpack for my laptop and tablet.
The new share everything will bring my bill to around 135 with taxes. Getting 6gig. Will save and am glad.

No matter how I figure it, I would lose with the shared data plan. I don't tether now and I have 4 smartphones, 700 anytime minutes, unlimited text, 2GB, 200MB(x2) and 300MG data plans and pay $195 before discount and taxes.

With the new shared data plan, for 1GB I would pay $220, 4GB would be $230 and 6GB would be $230.

Sure, I would like for some of the phones to be able to use more data, but with the shared data plan and 4 phones, it just doesn't work for me.

If I would switch, AT&T would WIN and I would LOSE.

Two phones currently using the grandfathered "unlimited, but throttled at 5GB each" = $157 WITH fees/taxes.

New 10GB shared plan would = $180 PLUS fees/taxes.

No-frickin'-thankyou!! :(

My wife has AT&T with 2 smartphones and 2 feature phones. Plus she has an iPad. I have a separate account with 2 smartphones and 2 feature phones. Each smartphone has 2 gigs of data. We each pay about $220 a month. If we consolidate everything in to this one plan, we can have the 4 smartphones and 4 feature phones PLUS her 4G LTE iPad and only pay $370 + taxes for 10 gigs a month. We will save about $90 a month.

I realize that for most, this new shared data plan isn't going to save them any money; but for us, this is going to make a huge difference.

I really, REALLY wish there were real competition for mobile services in the USA, and not a gigantic anti-competitive mess. These shared data plans are a joke for most of us.

I have two phones. One has unlimited data and text grandfathered in. I have the second line as a backup and to use for exercise and active recreational activities like jogging and biking when I don't want to carry my large regular phone. The second line has very limited data 200MB and 200 texts per month since it is rarely used. I have a shared voice plan between the phones, but I never get close to using all the minutes. My bill now with taxes generally comes to 145-150 including taxes and all.

If I switched to the 4GB shared data plan which would be more than adequate considering my current normal data usage, it appears the cost would be $150 before adding all the taxes. However, I'm still considering the switch since the new plans include tethering and also because I would be able to use my second phone without watching the data usage as much.

I noticed that the AT&T shared plans says "Unlimited Text" instead of unlimited messaging. Do you think they are going to begin counting all types of messaging, aside from texts, as part of your data allowance?

These seemed like a rip to me, but after looking at it on ATT, not so much. We use a ton of minutes because my parents are Realtors and are on their phones all day. We could do the 10 gb plan and save about 30 bucks a month over a 2100 voice with the 30 unlimited text/mobile to mobile and 3 $30 data and one $15 data plans. the 6gb plan would be another $10 saving but for $10 I'd probably just get the 10gb to be safe. and at least ATT isn't forcing people into this...