AT&T has announced that they are going to be rolling out shared data plans late in August of 2012. These plans are called “AT&T Mobile Share” plans and will (supposedly) co-exist with current offerings. Are these shared plans right for you and your family? Check out the plans and see if you should make the switch.
AT&T’s Mobile Share Plans
AT&T’s shared data plans will include unlimited talk, unlimited text, and a sharable pool of data. If you’re on a Mobile Share plan, you won’t have the option of opting out of unlimited text messaging (or unlimited talk, as a matter of fact), which means if you’re solely using iMessage on an iPhone, you’re going to have to pay up for texting now. Again, the carrier has hinted that these plans will coexist alongside current offerings, but what’s unclear is how many of the “current offerings” will stay in place in the longterm.
Check out AT&T’s Mobile Share plan below:
Example Mobile Share Plan
Let’s say you’re like my wife and I and would use a maximum of 2GB (gigabytes) per month between two smartphones. That’ll cost $40 for the first GB, an additional $15 for the second GB (mentioned in the fine print on AT&T’s website), and $45 per smartphone. That totals $145 per month. For $5 more per month, we’d be able to get the 4GB plan instead (when you do the math). As we use more and more data, that option will become attractive, so we’re likely to pay $150 per month before miscellaneous fees are tacked on. And you know what I think about fees . . . .
So what are we getting for that $150 bucks (plus fees)? We’re actually getting some pretty nice services:
- Unlimited talk.
- Unlimited text.
- Access to the fastest network on average in the United States (most critics would agree).
- Freedom to use as much data as possibly can (we wouldn’t go over 4GB).
- Second-best coverage and reception in the United States (Verizon is the first in my opinion).
But again, $150 is a lot of dough to cough up every month. When you compare this plan to Virgin Mobile’s prepaid offerings, Virgin Mobile blows AT&T out of the water. However, you’d have to deal with less coverage and slower internet speeds – not to mention paying for smartphones full price (an iPhone 4S costs approximately $650 at Virgin Mobile as opposed to $200 on AT&T due to their contracted pricing).
When you compare AT&T’s postpaid plans and devices vs. Virgin Mobile’s prepaid plans and devices over the course of two years, Virgin Mobile beats AT&T on price handsomely. However, I do feel you’re not getting as quality of a service with prepaid iPhone offerings (at this point in time).
With AT&T’s Mobile Share plan, you do get hotspot (or tethering) included. That’s pretty nice. I really don’t understand why I might add a tablet to my Mobile Share plan if I could just get the signal off of my smartphone, but perhaps some people will need this feature.
Should You Switch to AT&T’s Mobile Share Plan?
If you’re an AT&T customer, you’re going to have a choice in front of you. Do you switch to the Mobile Share plan? Why or why not? Does this type of plan make you want to be an AT&T customer or not? I’m not sure myself quite yet, I’d love to hear what you think!
What do you think of the new plans? Leave a comment below! I’m looking forward to hearing your input! I’ll meet you there.