AT&T raises price for grandfathered unlimited data plans

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AT&T Is Increasing Prices For Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans, Still a Great Deal.

Oh no! If it wasn’t obvious enough that AT&T wants you to drop your grandfathered unlimited data plan, the carrier has just announced that it will be raising the price of these plans effective February 2016. AT&T hasn’t offered new customers unlimited data since 2012, but users who snapped them up in the iPhone 3G era and clung to them until now (including yours truly) will see the first price hike in seven years, from $30 a month to $35. Back in the day, unlimited data plans were all good and affordable for the average American consumer, but back in the day, people wore an onion on their belt, which was the style in those days…if Grampa Simpson is to be believed. But speaking of all things grandfatherly, AT&T’s data plans will be $5 more premium starting in February 2016, with the monthly price rising from $30 to $35.

While AT&T previously came under fire for throttling these so-called unlimited plans to a lower speed after customers hit 5GB, the company recently changed its policy. Now it only throttles users “if you exceed 22GB of data in a billing cycle and are in a congested area.” Why this matters: If you have unlimited data with AT&T and you’re still under contract, you still have to pay the increased cost. Still, if it’s any consolation, Verizon’s price increase on its grandfathered unli-data plans was a hefty $20, while Sprint and T-Mobile did the same by raising unlimited data prices a few months back. Other than the price hike, the deal is still the same: you’ll have to buy talk and text separately, and the 22GB threshold where you’ll be throttled remains unchanged.

If you don’t want to pay, your only option is to cancel your contract within 60 days of receiving the higher bill, and AT&T will waive the early termination fee “for the lines impacted by the price increase.” I’m the only unlimited-data line on my three-line family plan, so if I wanted to move my whole family, I’d still be on the hook for ETFs for the other two lines. AT&T hopes customers will move to its Mobile Share Value plans instead—which can save you money versus paying for separate data buckets for each user, although then you also have to, you know, share the data. These days, most customers prefer to buy data buckets, or sign up to alternative plans that provide a specific amount of high-speed data, with speeds getting throttled once they consume so much of it. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon will cover the costs of switching from another carrier, as long as you turn in your current smartphone and buy a new one.

At Sprint, a new 64GB iPhone 6s is $100 down and $15 a month if you trade in another smartphone—it’s a 22-month lease, but you’re allowed to upgrade to a new iPhone anytime. Buying from T-Mobile can be a little confusing, though, because they also have Jump On Demand, only available in T-Mobile stores, which requires a device trade-in but lowers the device fees, to $0 upfront and $5/month for a 16GB iPhone 6s. Family plans get more complicated based on how many lines you need and how much data you can share, not to mention the possible inconvenience of switching your whole family at the same time. My parents are on my plan, for example, even though they live 3,500 miles away—so I’m most likely cooling my jets for the time being and paying AT&T the extra $5, although I’m not thrilled about it.

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