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AT&T Revamps iPad Mobile Plans: Bye-Bye "Unlimited" Access

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AT&T Revamps iPad Mobile Plans: Bye-Bye "Unlimited" Access
June 02, 2010
By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor


Starting June 7, 2010, AT&T (News - Alert) will offer two mobile data plans for new iPad buyers. DataPlus will provide 200 MB of data for $15 per month (additional 200 MB chunks of data also cost $15), and DataPro, which provides 2 GBytes of data for $25 per month, with every additional GByte costing $10. 

If customers on the DataPlus plan exceed 200 MBytes in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the cycle. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MBytes of data per month on average, says AT&T.

If customers on the DataPro plan exceed 2 GBytes during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle.  Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average, AT&T says. 

Furthermore, smartphone customers can enable tethering for an additional $20 per month, but only if they use the DataPro plan.

Existing iPad customers, who already have the $29.99 unlimited monthly plan can choose to keep it, or switch to the DataPro plan.

Each plan includes unlimited access at no additional charge to more than 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots in the United States. Customers can also use unlimited Wi-Fi at home, in the office or elsewhere if available. 

AT&T will send free text messages after customers reach different usage intervals and by providing online tools, including a smartphone app that shows monthly usage information. 

Current AT&T voice and texting plans are unchanged.

Smartphone customers - including iPhone (News - Alert) customers - who choose the DataPro plan have the option to add tethering for an additional $20 per month.  Tethering lets customers use their smartphones as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks or other computing devices. Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple (News - Alert) releases iPhone OS 4 this summer.   

The new pricing brings iPads into the same framework as PC dongles services, but with different data buckets that reflect the lower demand the iPad is expected to create, compared to netbooks or notebooks. 

Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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