Verizon Could Expend Network Capacity By 2020, Says Analyst

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

Oh no! 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. The $5 bump will bring the month fee to $35 and marks the first time in roughly five years that the company has issued a price bump to unlimited customers and has since ended. For comparison, T-Mobile recently raised its own unlimited data price along with the announcement of its “Un-carrier X” offer, though that was a much larger jump from $80 to $95. 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.

While a price hike will be met with groans—outside of Netflix’s price bump which everyone saw coming—AT&T’s is $15 less than Verizon’s price jump. 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. AT&T and Verizon often echo one another when it comes to plan and pricing changes, and AT&T would probably prefer that any customers still on an unlimited data plan move to a metered data plan.

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.

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. At the lower end of the plan spectrum customers are usually safe from fee hikes since the plans were initially meant to cover the essentials—texting and calls. 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. 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. Unlike Sprint and T-Mobile, Verizon will charge you if you go over your allotment, at $15 per 1GB. (T-Mo and Sprint don’t charge you more, they just reduce your speeds.) Verizon’s plans also all have $20 tacked on for “monthly line access,” so your $45 data plan will result in a monthly bill of $65. 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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