AT&T's 4G policies revealed

Update: AT&T has clarified this leak for us, saying you can upgrade to a 4G phone and keep your current unlimited plan. You can find an updated post here.

Anyone planning of getting a new Inspire 4G, take note.  This internal document from AT&T might weigh heavily in your decision.  While AT&T has decided they won't be charging more for their 4G service, they will require anyone using a 4G device to get a new plan.

According to the memo, the data tiers for 4G are the same as the 3G plans, namely $15 for each 200 MB or 2 GB for $25.00 (with $10 per GB overage).  This means unlimited data in no longer an option, because you will have to change plans.  We have no idea how this will affect customers with unlimited data grandfathered in who buy a phone off-contract and just drop their SIM card in, but I would imagine AT&T can tell with a little bit of auditing.  Will this affect your buying decision?  Sound off in the forums!  [via the Android Central app]

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Wow. Speechless once again thanks to AT&T. Way to kick your loyals in the nuts once again.
  • That just made my decision easier...keeping my Nexus One...and I'm going to suck boatloads of data by tethering it to my Xoom via wifi hotspot...on my unlimited data...take that AT&T!
  • Internet should not be metered. Unlike water and gas (which could be in a limited supply), electricity (which requires proper infrastructure to produce), and food (production), internet costs almost nothing to distribute. I guess its because infrastructure in the US sucks, especially compared to asian countries where you can get 50mpbs for $25/month...or something like that.
  • Then open up your own ISP and see how long your belief in that will last. I love when people think the Internet is, in not so many words, practically FREE to operate and supply.
  • Who said anyone is getting anything for Free? Bandwidth costs the same whether it's being used or not. Switches, routers, etc. cost but do not cost more to use them other than upgrading and increasing capacity. Which is what we pay for. It's not water or some finite resource. So by over-selling their network ATT gets a free pass. Anyway I doubt you can drop your 3G SIM in a 4G phone. I've noticed in the past 2 weeks ATT has been sending out new SIM cards with just the ATT logo and no "3G" text on them.
  • I actually have less of a problem with metering than what AT&T is doing. The entry level plan is four times more per gigabyte than the higher tier, and the "overage" charge (which would not be an overage if metered) is 25% more than the latter. If bandwidth rather than profiteering was the real concern, customers would be charged for what they actually use, not more.
  • Ugh, now I'm angry. If this turns out to be the case, I will probably be moving to Verizon. With my iPhone 3Gs, I usually use about 2.1 to 2.3 gb a month. Not interested in paying overages, period.
  • AT&T does it again! LMAO. Thank goodness I'm no longer one of their customers. Stuff like this gets old, when your carrier looks at you like a dollar ($) sign.
  • Moved on to Sprint and the EVO last December. Enjoy your AT&T 4G with your data cap. I don't have one. LOL!!!
  • I'm moving to Verizon as well when I go 4G...I might as well since neither one has unlimited data but at least Verizon has better Android devices...cannot believe the day would come that I would switch carriers.
  • Hey everybody! Leave AT&T! *Enjoys Sprint*
  • I am sure Verizon will soon follow with similar data plans. You know when one does something that may make them a little more $$ here and there the other follows.
  • as of right now Verizon does have unlimited data. They havent said anything about their 4g prices yet though
  • WTF... Looks like I won't be getting the Atrix now! Way to screw me over again, AT&T.
  • I guess I'm in the minority, but I could care less. You can get free wifi almost everywhere now days. All carriers are going to do this eventually
  • I am with you...I only use about 800MB a month.
  • Exactly...ALL carriers are going to do this eventually...even the 'godly' Sprint.
  • Ya? I'll believe that when I see it. There is no evidence in that and it's in Sprints best interest to not do the bandwidth cap.
  • In Sprint's interest to keep hemorrhaging profits? Okay...we'll see about that.
  • Ha team huddle papers
  • I have an evo but my girl (simple minded) just loves her iPhone. So I got her the ip4 for Xmas. When I went in they explained that the new iPhone has a different sim card. Its actually smaller and they are no longer interchangeable. It wouldn't surprise me if they did this with the 4g phone as well to prevent off contract purchases. This is only one of many reasons I'm glad I never looked back from att when I left iPhone!!
  • Apple chose the SIM and it works just fine in other phones with a tiny cheap adapter. It was chosen first and foremost for size reasons i'm sure. Don't get on a tif about something you don't understand.
  • There is no point in going to 4G and still be hampered with a 2 Gig plan. Not only do we want it faster, we want more of it. I was at AT&T today, tweaking my plan to take advantage of their Mobile to ANY Mobile plan. The thing is, The reps suggested I could lighten up on my minutes because they think it will save me so many minutes I could drop to the lower tier. They went out out of their way to assure that I wouldn't lose my UnLimited data. The line staff are pretty good bunch around here. But then THIS nonsense comes. (My area won't be getting 4G for a year anyway, and a lot can change in that time). I wonder if AT&T figured out that only Only 8% of Verizon iPhone buyers were previously on AT&T., or that the big rush to Verizon iPhones was mostly a fizzle and is using these two facts to put a bow tie on its revenue stream going forward, so that they can look magnanimous when the relax the tiers later.
  • The question is, can you buy the atrix on a non smartphone line and change the sim to your smartphone, so you can keep your unlimited data. I don't think ATT can change your data plan unless you said so, if they did, wouldn't it be violating the contract.
  • You can't do that. At&T can and will change your plan as soon as they notice, which might not be right away. This is in their policy, and your permission is not required. It happened to a friend of mine.
  • i dont understand. their 4g plan is the same as 3g? so what's the story? if someone signs up with att today on 3g plan, it's going to be the same as when they get the inspire or atrix
  • If you have an existing plan with unlimited data, buying a 4G device makes you change contract to a new plan. One that doesn't offer unlimited data.
  • but if you aren't on AT&T and plan on moving there then nothing different
  • Im so pisseds thats ridiculous. Wow atrix was looking amazing then att showed prices for webtop then it was bad. But this is so ridiculous. Im leaving att. Worst company ever
  • I'm glad that I have unlimited 3g and 4g internet with Sprint
  • Yes, you do. I left AT&T too. It doesn't matter what phone AT&T gets. The service sucks, there is no unlimited data, and they are wallet eaters.
  • Relax people. Vote with your wallet. That is how capitalism works.
  • That's precisely what I did this past weekend...and this announcement makes me glad I did it when I did, and did not continue to give att one more cent than necessary.
  • If you stick your 3G sim card into the 4G phone, it probably won't allow you to run at 4G speeds, but be limited to 3G, which would basically make getting a 4G phone not worthwhile other than the hardware. So it seems they may have found a way to force many away from the grandfathered in unlimited data plans.
  • Well that wasn't the case with migrating from unlimited feature phones to Android. If the sim fit, you could pay 15 bucks for unlimited, until they happened to notice. Nothing in the sim prevented it. When AT&T happened to notice, all of a sudden you got a 15 dollar bump in your plan.
  • The anger in the comments here is misdirected. First off *NOBODY* has a genuinely unlimited plan. If you believe that try talking to people on Verizon who have gotten letters stating they're using too much data on their "unlimited" plan. And that they're going to have their service terminated. Most "unlimited" data plans have a ceiling of about 5GB before the network starts getting cranky with you. The vast majority of users never come close to that, but that still doesn't mean the plan is "unlimited". So on the one hand I'd actually give AT&T credit for at least being honest in this regard where as the rest are lying to (and overcharging) you. That being said. 2GB? As we're multiplying data rates seven fold AT&T wants to cut people back from a 5GB ceiling to a 2GB? That's just plain stupid. The other thing that is stupid is charging extra for tethering (I'm not sure where AT&T stands with this, but I'm guessing it's an extra charge like it is almost everywhere else). If I buy 5GB I should be able to use that 5GB however I want. If I buy unlimited I should get to use genuinely unlimited data however I want. If it's not really unlimited, be honest with me about what it is but don't charge me extra because I want to use the data I've paid for in more than one way. Personally I like tiered pricing for data. While information is infinite, the resources to provide the network connection are not. As a power user I have no problem with the idea that I should pay a little more because I use much more of those resources than someone like my mother who doesn't. I just want to be able to do with the service I've purchased as I see fit, and I don't want to be lied to ("unlimited") about what it is I'm buying.
  • I can only speak for Sprint, but they are truly unlimited. They made it a point to send me a flyer in the mail stating so. There is no phantom 5gb cap.
  • and I speak for business...that will not last. It will be them or the plan. At some point either will halt.
  • It may not last, but that's how it is now. Now is what's important, not some unknown future date that may or may not arrive. Simply put, the person I was addressing is wrong.
  • T-Mobile's unlimited is actually unlimited, though they do throttle you on Edge after you've crossed 5GB for the month, which is fair for not applying overage charges.
  • Well said.
  • The only reason to have faster data would be for video. How much video can you watch before you hit 2gigs? It kinda defeats the purpose of 4g. People will soon choose their network based on data plans. The carriers better wise up. I can get a great android phone on any network.
  • AT&T: Luke, I am NOT your grandfather!
    Luke: :'(
  • Okay man that was funny as hell
  • Still no damn data coverage map. How can they expect Mr to buy something if I can't see it. Its like selling 1,000,000 gold bars to someone for 10 dollars. yet there was no gold bars to begin with.
    Can hspa+ radios be installed in pre-existing hardware?
  • How is this a shock. Their "4G" is just their 3G with some extra clocking added. Let's see them deploy a brand new LTE network and THEN see if they don't charge extra for "real" 4G.
  • Yeah, im happy with sprint paying 69.99 for unlimited talk to any cell carrier, unlimited text, web, gps, tv, with 450min to talk to land lines... who calls land lines? I only use 24min max a month, plus 10smart phone fee 79.99 minus 10% AAA discount of my bill so i pay 72.99 a month... not bad huh compared to unlimited plan with att and v... dont forget guys any carrier will take 10-15% off ur bill if u have AAA or a bank credit union(free to open an account)
  • Does the gloating every stop? Sprintboys are getting worse than iBots. We get guys are cheap asses. I prefer to pay the extra $10 a month for better service.
  • Cheap asses? Like paying more for less makes you a genius? More like an elitist snob with capped data. Have fun with your AT&T data capped 4G phone. I've got a 4G phone with unlimited data on a network that gives me VALUE for my dollars and it isn't AT&T.
  • Yeah, that's pretty accurate if you were talking to an AT&T customer - which I am not one - so no data cap. We will see how unlimited your data is when ClearWire finally goes under.
  • It's not always gloating. Sometimes it's merely informing. If not wanting to pay more than I have to makes me cheap, so be it. I'm cheap. But hey I'm satisfied with the service and can spend the difference on other things. If I wasn't satisfied with the service I'd have a different logo on my phone.
  • It's totally gloating. You Sprint people say the same shit, over and over and over and over in almost every single post dealing with plans and data (hell, even phones in general). If you are being informational, we got the point a few thousands posts ago.
  • I will concede that those with a kind of "neener neener neener" tone do get old. That's not limited to just Sprint posts. It's really only repetitive to regular readers though. There are a surprising number of people who have no idea what's included and how good the coverage is for a lot of people. Many pay more than they actually have to.
  • This means unlimited data in no longer an option,
    and this is good for me, I could get a new 4G phone and my rents wont have to pay extra.
  • I hope this is a hoax and not an actual memo from AT&T. This would seal it for me. I was eyeing the Bionic from VZW anyway.
  • Scroll the front page up two posts everyone. Kudos to AT&T for going on record
  • Kudos to AT&T for it's wallet eating ways. They have to make back the money they're losing from Verizon getting the iPhone. They may as well get it from Atrix buyers.
  • AT&T activated 1.3 million more iPhones than verizon in the second quarter I don't think theyre losing much money considering their numbers were still near to average for iPhone sales. I pay less than 250 a month for 7 phones in which 4 of them are iPhones and 2 of them are Androids, I dont know why everyone complains if you cant afford the service get a cheaper phone. Its as simple as that
  • It's news like this that reminds me how good Sprint is. Sure their phones aren't all the greatest, Echo comes to mind, but patience is a virtue. Besides, I smell Evo2 in the next few months.
  • through sprint i can tether and stream netflix hd. i rack up over 500mb per day easy in Portland with 4g. No extra fees. sprint ftw