AT&T Joins Verizon In Charging You More For Shared Data Plans

    July 18, 2012

Verizon caught a lot of heat from consumers when they launched the Share Everything Plan a few months ago. Not only were they taking people off of unlimited data, but they were making them pay large fees for a very small amount of data to be shared across all devices on a plan. AT&T said they would be doing the same thing, and that plan will be going into effect in August.

AT&T announced today that the Mobile Share plan will be launching in late August. It will allow new and existing customers to share data across all smartphones, tablets and other devices that use their network. Like Verizon’s plan, those who sign up for AT&T’s Mobile Share plan will get unlimited talk and text.

Both Verizon and AT&T offer customers the ability to stick with their old plans if they so wish. It’s a nice gesture, but it would be even sweeter if they let us keep our grandfathered unlimited data plans.

“We offer customers a broad choice and the best lineup of plans, now enhanced by Mobile Share,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. “With these new plans, the more you share, the more you save. They’ll be a good fit for a variety of new and existing customers. But if customers want to stay on their current plan or choose from our existing plans, they can do that, too. It’s their choice.”

So how does the price compare? For a standard 4GB of shared data, a family of two will have to pay $150 for Verizon’s plan. That’s $80 for two smartphones and $70 for 4GB of shared data. AT&T’s plan costs the same for the same set up. Where AT&T gets interesting is that they lower the price on phones per line as you increase your data.

Starting at 10GB shared data for $120 a month, each phone on the line only costs $30 on AT&T’s plan for a total of $180. On Verizon, the cost per phone stays the same at $40 with 10GB costing $100 a month for a total of $180. As you can see, both plans cost the same with both companies reducing the cost in different areas.

As for extra devices, each basic phone you add onto your AT&T plan will cost an extra $30 a month, laptops will cost an extra $20 and tablets/gaming devices will cost an extra $10. If anything, these extra expenses should just convince you that it’s smarter to stick with just Wi-Fi for your laptop and tablet needs.

Neither plan is super consumer friendly, but at least both carriers give people the option of sticking with their old plans. As more and more people begin to buy into smartphones, I see the pre-paid plans taking off. You may have to pay for the unsubsidized phone upfront, but it saves money in the long run.