AT&T has been hinting at overhauling its unlimited data plans to tiered pricing for months. Well, no more hints; it's the new deal now. I actually think it may be a good thing. Here's why...
First of all, here are the changes:
1. Customers who use less than 200 MB a month will now pay only $15 (instead of $29.99).
2. Customers who use up to 2 GB of data will pay $25 a month. Every additional gig of data will cost $10 a month.
3. Customers will not see the terms of their current plans change unless they proactively change them.
4. One last thing; AT&T is now offering tethering for the iPhone - for a mere $20 a month.
Okay, so why I think this is ultimately a good thing:
- If AT&T is correct, 98% of its customers currently use less than 2 GB of data. That means all 98% of customers who are currently paying $30 a month for unlimited bandwidth can save $5 a month.
- AT&T claims 65% of its customers use less than 200 MB a month. So those folks stand to save $15 a month.
- When customers know there is some sort of limit on their use, they tend to conserve more. Conservation is good. It means using less energy.
- Monthly usage varies wildly among customers. Why should my 71 year old mother who never even sends a text, much less download a Youtube video, pay the same thing as the person who constantly plays games, downloads and watches the entire "Lord of The Rings" trilogy on cross country flights and uses their iPhone as not only a briefcase, but a file cabinet?
As much as it pains me to agree with AT&T, this is fair.
Industry analysts will tell you that the big question now is whether Verizon, Sprint and the gang will follow. Or will they use it as bragging rights over AT&T pledging to stick to their flat pricing plans?
Speaking of plans, plan on this; data hogs will squeal.