AT&T

We were just contacted by a representative from AT&T who saw our post about the leaked 4G policy memo, and wanted to clarify a very important point about their new 4G plans.  I quote:

Customers who currently have an unlimited plan can upgrade to a 4G device and keep their unlimited plans.

They did not dispute the validity of the leaked memo, but they were kind enough to tell us a part of the story that the original leak missed.  So put away those pitchforks.  Thanks for the clarification AT&T!

 

Reader comments

AT&T clarifies 4G policy, current unlimited plans remain unlimited

54 Comments

We certainly try. I can understand the need to keep things quiet sometimes, and I hope carriers and manufacturers understand why we do what we do to keep them honest :)

I'm really glad AT&T got in touch with us instead of just letting this one escalate.

Absolutely...Iwish to also thank Android central for reporting on this before it was implemented. It may have been too late by then. You guys probably just saved our unlimited data.

I was thinking this exact same thing! AT&T realized that they better do something or they won't have anyone left. Now, it wouldn't surprise me if they don't make a rule about LTE phones and unlimited data. I'll deal with that in 2 years when the contract on my Atrix is up I guess.

I agree..true 4G is one thing, but to make us give up our unlimited plans with the VERY FIRST kick ass Android devices to come to AT&T would have been backhanded. I don't doubt that we will have to give up unlimited data someday, but right now AT&T should just let us have these new devices on contract and keep our current data plans. Truth is this is 3.5G not true 4G...we'll deal with true 4G when it gets here, and probably pay more for it.

Maybe they contacted you because I dm'd three AT&T reps via twitter asking for clarification. Or maybe not...who knows. I sent them the photo you posted. I'm glad to hear I can keep my unlimited data plan.

I for one would like to very much thank AT&T for this. It has been slim picking for us Android fans at AT&T thru the years and we are just now getting excited with all the new Android devices. We made it thru the thin times and would like to keep our unlimited plan from the days we were loyal to you.

I agree. I also see the unlimited plan as a sort of reward for loyalty at this point, shame we've been conditioned isn't it? :-/

The previous article made me tweet, facebook, and paper rage to switch from AT&T to Verizon. Thanks to AndroidCentral.....oh and AT&T I will remain an AT&T customer. I live in West Virginia, so the couch burning would of erupted. Oh AT&T....don't mess with us like that.

Anybody else feel like ATT is reacting to Verizon on a hour by hour basis instead of well thought out plans for product launches and changes to it's plans?

Well that should put a damper on the lost money from iPhone sales on Verizon. Way to do something for your installed base of Unlimited Data users.

hi this is a question -
i have unlimited data+text $30 for a not smart phone. does this unlimited plan carry 0ver to a smart phone? am asking here rather than contacting at&t because getting a straight answer seems more likely from consumers than from customer service reps. inspire available for g r e a t price on amazonwireless right now. thank you
p s if i go w/ 200mb + 1000 texts price is $5 less. i've never approached 200mb with dumb phone but see how that could change very quickly w/ an android aka tricorder phone. hey wonder if any one on here has tricorder as their user name, i forgot to go for it.

Is this some Joe from a local at&t store Jerry? The Rep never said that you'd be getting 4g data with your unlimited plan either. You can upgrade to 4g phone but can't use the 4g speed unless you upgrade plans.... sounds like a loophole

And by the way! The next to last bullett in the memo contradicts what the Rep says....
And still waiting on a damn map.

Exactly correct about that next to last bullet.

If the leak was unofficial, they probably heard the fire storm and are now in full retreat.

beware...

9 years of att tech support, and 4 years of vzw tech support speaking here ...

companies have policies, and drones that follow.

if you do not bring up legacy (older) issues, they will be gleefuly ignored in favor of 'policy' by most representatives.

not all, but most. if you do not bring it up, will be tacit acceptance on your part.

be aware.

Regardless of what the guy told you, his version is in direct opposition to the second to last bullet on the leaked memo.

Both versions can't be true. The are 180 degrees apart.

If you are still on a retired (no longer offered) unlimited ($30) data plan the memo says you have to get a new "Available" plan to upgrade to a 4g phone.

Since there is no "Available" unlimited plan, you are stuck with a 2 Gig plan.

The memo says this guy is not speaking the truth - or maybe, just Maybe, the leaked memo was a trial balloon to see how high the scream level would be.

Yep. And we can't comment on that, because we just don't know. I'd like to think that pro-active Android fans and their assault on AT&T forced their hand to implement a better and more fair policy, but it's anyone's guess at this point.

I know first hand how you guys can get when you're pissed off, and it's not something you can easily ignore. Just ask Samsung ;)

I'M GOING TO TYPE IN BOLD BECAUSE APPARENTLY PEOPLE CAN'T READ.

YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE THE UNLIMITED DATA PLAN. I WORK FOR AT&T AND THAT DOCUMENT WAS LEAKED BY SOMEONE IN MY DEPARTMENT/BUILDING. I JUST SO HAPPENED TO WALK INTO THE BATHROOM AND SAW THAT EXACT PAPER ON THE FLOOR.

THE DATA PLANS ARE GOING TO CHANGE AND IT WON'T BE AS EASY AS PUTTING YOUR SIM IN A PURCHASED PHONE YOU BOUGHT YOURSELF. IT'S GOING TO BE APN SPECIFIC I'D ASSUME.

Like mentioned above, we are sure the document leaked earlier today is real.

We're just as sure that this source is real.

The fact that they contradict each other can't (and won't) stop us from telling you guys everything we know.

Just keep bringing all the news Jerry. That's why we read this blog.

Like you hinted up-thread, its entirely possible they back-peddled upon hearing the uproar. When their own employees leak memos you know even they think its wrong.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was an innocent misunderstanding by someone writing up the first draft of the policy training.

How is it going to be APN specific when the phone will connect to the same hspa, hspa+ network as standard hsdpa devices do?

I know a carrier who is scared that their recent customer gains will be for not if they have shitty policies.

Thank you android central for saving our plans and AT&T should thank you for saving their customers :)

They haven't saved squat yet. I'm leaning towards trial balloon too because of the 180 degree about face. If AC trusts their source so do I.
Bit the other option is no + in hspa. U keep unlimited hspa but don't get + but the bullet clearly states 4g device requires 4g plan. That's what leads me to believe trial balloon. All circumstantial evidence points that way.

So if they want feedback on this balloon? My input is similar to others. Don't screw loyalists at&t. There are much better amdroid lineups at carriers with better prices and coverage.

AT&T is the devil... They represent everything that is wrong with the cellular industry. I left them a long time ago and it was a great decision.

Everyone's changing policies for the worst... Sprint nixed the cheap yearly phone upgrades for their less expensive plans and applied the $10 premium data free from the EVO/Epic to all other smartphones. T-mobile and Verizon have decided to throttle data speeds for people consuming more than 5GB or the 5% of customers consuming the most data, respectively. Verizon might still go tiered for LTE...

That being said, I'd take ANY of those options over AT&T's hard data cap of 2GB. I still haven't regretted leaving them for Sprint when the EVO came out, we'll see how I feel after MWC. :P If AT&T simply offered an additional plan with a 6-9GB cap for $35-45, there'd probably be a lot less whining.

Well, I called AT&T Business Center and they told me that if I upgraded to another BlackBerry or like phone I could keep my unlimited data plan (BIS), but that if I decided on one of the 4G phones that were coming out I would be going to a different plan and thus requiring to get one of their new data plans. Sounds like the inmates are running the asylum.

I believe if you want to use one of the new 4G phones you DO have to have one of the new plans. BUT The new plans exactly mirror the old 3G plans INCLUDING the old unlimited ones if you already have one of them

All I know is, I was told that, being on a grandfathered unlimited plan (BB 9000), upgrading to ANY other smartphone will allow me to still keep my unlimited.

If this sh*t is true, I'm gone.

I'm guessing everyone realizes that the whole "grandfathered-in" thing, the higher ETA fees and this 4G policy change is only to skirt around the contract-escape clause for a gazillion subscribers while fully phasing out anything remotely unlimited. You'll eventually want a snazzy new phone and whatever new tiered contract is tied to it, or upon any new activation.

The difference in the plans is APN and speed provisioning. There will be mirrors of all current data plans and the Unlimited data plan, that's what this memo is saying. It also appears that SIM cards won't have to change.

Jerry Hildenbrand,
ATT lied as usual

"Customers who currently have an unlimited plan can upgrade to a 4G device and keep their unlimited plans."

This is NOT A TRUE statement.
I have an unlimited data plan and could not upgrade to HTC inspire because I was not willing to sign up with new limited data plan. I ended up with ATT’s retention group. They were unable to save me due to the rep’s inability to extend the unlimited data plan. Basically they gave me the shaft and told me to go to Sprint for unlimited data plans because there was NO systematic way they can offer me or help me. I pay ~2800 dollars a year for family phone services, and they just wrote me off.

Untrue, I work for at&t, I have the unlimited smart phone data grandfathered on my account, after reading the comments and this article I wanted to see for my self if I would be able to keep my unlimited "smartphone" data, so I logged into the at&t system and started to process an upgrade using an htc inspire imei from my stock room. The system allowed me to keep my unlimited data plan. After cancelling that transaction, I then tried doing an equipment change on my account to the htc inspire as if I had bought it outright. Again the system allowed me to keep my unlimited smartphone data plan. Customers who have an existing unlimited smartphone data plan will be able to keep their unlimited plan if they choose. Customers who don't have-and this is the key-unlimited SMARTPHONE data will not have that option available to them. So Jerry from what I read, you had unlimited data on a quick messaging device, not a blackberry, pda, or iphone. Because it is not smart phone data, you do not qualify for the unlimited smartphone data, as it no longer exists. If you had unlimited smart phone data the customer resolution department would have been able to put that feature back on your account in seconds. Jerry, before making a rash decision and moving to an inferior network, understand that 98% of all at&t smartphone users do not exceed 2gb's of data. More importantly, if for some crazy instance that you were in the 2% that do, it would only cost you $35 for 3gb's of data. That's only $5 more than I pay for my data and you wouldn't be paying that every month, only on months that you use it. Furthermore, using wifi at home and at work if it is available to you, will greatly decrease your mobile data usage. Lastly, 2gb's of data gives you the ability to send and receive 10,000 emails without attachments, PLUS send and receive 1500 emails with attachments, PLUS view 4,000 web pages, PLUS upload 500 photos to social networking sites, PLUS view 200 minutes of streaming video! Jerry that is alot of usage for $25 a month. For another $10 you would be able to send another 5000 emails without attachments, plus 750 with attachments, plus view another 2000 websites, plus upload another 250 photos to social network sites, plus view another 100 minutes of streaming video. Jerry, the inspire's battery life isn't long enough to do all that. I hope this cleared somethings up for you.

Hmm.. I wonder what would happen in my case. I'm on the $15/mo unlimited data plan on an AT&T Samsung SGH-a707; could I switch to a 4G android and stay on this plan? That would be great, but I'd be surprised. Dunno how to get a definitive answer.

Actually, no. What you have currently is non smartphone data, because non smartsphones are not data dependent they use much less data so the plans for those phones are lower and do provide unlimited data. You could get a 4g android on a $15 plan, however it would not be unlimited. It would give 200 mb's of data usage with any additional charges. If you have access to wifi frequently, ie: your job supplies free wifi or you have wifi at home and won't use data often when not on wifi, you cold make that work. otherwise I would recommend the $25 2 gb plan.

Here is my experience today with AT&T Live Chat on their website, after which I went into the local AT&T store (Wireless Logic) and told the same thing when inquiring to purchase the Atrix. In addition the store rep told me I would need a new "4G SIM" in addition to the new data plan. AT&T really needs to get all their people on the same page, whatever it is. No one seems to know what they are talking about.

Chat Transcript

...
Sharon R: Welcome to AT&T Premier Support. I am reading your question and will be right with you.
Paul: Trying to figure out why I am not getting the $100 rebate discount when ordering the Atrix to upgrade my phone.

Sharon R: Were you able to check the Offer Details of the device?
Paul: yes
Paul: Not understanding why my current data plan and voice plan don't seem to qualify.
Sharon R: Please take note that the 4G devices requires a 4G data plan.
Paul: I don't even get 3g here in sheboygan. that promise has remained unfulfilled for 2 years
Sharon R: I apologize for the inconvenience and I understand your concern. Unfortunately, all Smartphones requires a data plan. You need to add a data plan for you to be able to get the discount as per the Offer Details.
Paul: I have had a smartphone for over 5 years, and I have a data plan along with my voice plan already. Are you saying I need another data plan?
Sharon R: I will be right with you.
Paul: With all due respect, I have been an att wireless customer for over 10 years, yet there are still charges like 18 for activation when frankly all it requires for me is to move my SIM card and make a phone call. These complications don't engender loyalty...

Paul: "for IRU customers a DataPlus Personal plan or other eligible data plan with MSC of $15 or higher" - does MSC mean minimum service charge?
Sharon R: The MSC would be Monthly Service Charge. Thank you for the information.

Sharon R: I am currently working to research your concern. Please hold and I will be right back with you within 2 to 3 minutes.
Paul: sure
Sharon R: I appreciate your patience.
Sharon R: I apologize for the delay. I am still working to research your concern.
Paul: np
Sharon R: Thank you.
Sharon R: Please continue to hold and I will be right back with you within 2 to 3 minutes.
Paul: ok
Sharon R: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.
Sharon R: I'm sorry for the delay. I'll be right with you.
Sharon R: Thank you for waiting. Yes, your voice plan qualifies, however, the Media Max for $19.99 does not qualify you to get the instant rebate. You need to add a data plan for the instant rebate to show on the Shopping Cart page. Also, the $18 Upgrade Fee is the standard charge for equipment order processing.
Paul: what is the most comparable data plan to what I have?
Sharon R: How many bytes do you get on your current data plan?
Paul: unlimited and 200 texts
Sharon R: I'm sorry for the delay. I'll be right with you.
Sharon R: Currently, AT&T has no plans to offer the unlimited Smartphone data plans. You can choose from the list of data plans available to your account. Also, the data plans offered to your account does not include messaging. You will need to add a messaging plan aside from the data plan.
Paul: So for 100 extra I can keep my current plans and get this phone?
Sharon R: I will be right with you.
Sharon R: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.
Sharon R: Thank you for waiting. No, you will still be required to add a 4G data plan when you activate the device. Your current data plan is grandfather and it is no longer offered by AT&T. Also, 4G devices require the 4G data plan.
Paul: "Grandfathered" generally means that I can keep it so long as I don't discontinue, but you are saying that if I buy a 4g phone I will have to discontinue my old data plan and get a 4g plan? I want to make sure that I have this correct.
Sharon R: Yes, you are correct.
Paul: I see. That and still no 4g coverage. Thank you for your assistance.

To set the record 100% straight, I upgraded to the HTC inspire 4g today, I was able to get an 4g Unlimited data plan, because I had the unlimited smartphone data plan on my account already. To state it another way...IF YOU ALREADY HAVE THE UNLIMITED SMART PHONE DATA ON YOUR ACCOUNT, YOU CAN GET 4G DATA AND KEEP IT UNLIMITED FOR $30, PERIOD.

I just bought a HTC Inspire 4G and I had a little problem with extending my grandfathered unlimited plan. My plan dates back to 07 and provided both unlimited 3G data and unlimited 3G tethering.

I bought the phone at Best Buy because they’re offering free upgrade protection plans right now, but while they were configuring the Inspire, it wouldn’t connect to the internet. Calls and texting worked, but no data except through wi-fi. After two and a half hours working with the people at Best Buy and two different people at AT&T, they had to switch me to an unlimited 4G plan. But this caused me to loose my unlimited tethering, AT&T does not offer that if you go 4G. My tethering is now limited to 4GB of data a month and the cost of my monthly bill went up $5. I’m not angry or anything, the people at Best Buy and AT&T were very professional and worked hard to find a way to get the Inspire to work and keep as much of my previous plan’s abilities as possible. I just wanted to share in case someone else with a plan like mine decides to upgrade.

@wamccoy: How were you able to do that? Despite all the "sales" assurances that I could be grandfathered with an unlimited 4G dataplan it didn't work out for me!!!

I had an unlimited $30 smartphone plan and purchased an Atrix at Costco yesterday for $119.99 (Great price!). BUT, when I took the phone to an AT&T corporate store to make sure that it was covered under insurance they put in a new 3G SIM and then switched the internet plan to the $25/2GB plan (and couldn't switch it back to the unlimited plan).

In the interim the phone AUTOMATICALLY switched to a Pay-as-you-go network access AND FINALLY shut down internet access altogether.

I spent ALL DAY talking to FOUR different technical service reps on the phone where they tried to put it to unlimited, couldn't make the switch, filed a Case ID and finally said I had to switch back to my old phone (Raphael/Fuze) if I wanted to keep the $30 unlimited 3G plan!

That's exactly what I did...the Atrix is going back and since I have four phones off contract, I'll shop for a new carrier with a current and active 4G network.

Once again it seems like a bunch of misleading information from AT&T where the left hand does not know what the right is doing and the customer loses every time!!

NO WAY I'm entering into a 2-year contract for a pseudo-network speedup (actually speedtested worse than my Fuze) and a 6 month interim technology!!! Other than a larger screen the Atrix was performing much the same (if not worse) than my old Raphael with a custom ROM.

any further news on this. Has anyone been upgraded to unlimited 4Gbecause they had the unlimited Smartphone plan & were grandfathered in? I'm upgrading frm a Palm Pre plus after the HP debacle & am hoping to keep the same $30 per month unlimited plan, which I already thought was overpriced.

Tried to upgrade from an iphone4 to an Atrix and keep $30/ unlimited data plan yesterday. Also purchased the laptop dock with no mention that I needed to change to a tethering plan.

Got home, tried to use the laptop doc and it wouldn't work. Connecting with the phone was just fine. The ATT rep said the Atrix phone will work with my unlimited plan (am I getting 3g or 4g?? That is still unknown) but if I want to use the lapdock I need a new 4g plan with tethering, which will run me $45 instead of $30.

I need to have a phone that I can access the following websites:
www.nwmls.com
www.kingcounty.gov/operations/gis/propresearch/parcelviewer.aspx

And due to my long commute I need to have an internet/ wifi/ 3g or 4g connection wherever I am. Obviously the lapdock/ atrix set-up would meet all of those needs its just forcing me to give up my unlimited plan. What do you guys think? Should I just try to do what I need on the tiny screen so I can keep my unlimited data plan or should I sacrifice it for the ease of use in the lapdock?