Smart SpendingSmart Spending

AT&T: No more fixed-price unlimited Internet

AT&T is starting what could become a disturbing trend: Eliminating your ability to pay a flat fee for unlimited Internet usage.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 2, 2010 12:20PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


If you're planning on getting an iPhone, iPad or other Web-surfing wireless device from AT&T, don't plan on unlimited Internet access for a low monthly fee.

On Monday, June 7, AT&T will stop offering unlimited Internet access for new smart-phone customers. Existing smart-phone customers will be able to stay on their $30-a-month unlimited-data plans, at least until their current contracts expire or perhaps longer, but new customers will have to choose from two different plans: the DataPlus plan that offers 200 megabytes of data for $15 a month, and the DataPro plan that offers 2 gigabytes for $25.

The company says it will send text messages to users of either plan warning them as they approach their limits. Going over means paying an extra $15 for 200 more megabytes for DataPlus customers; DataPro customers will be charged an extra $10 for an extra 1 gig.


If you live in an area like New York or San Francisco where the iPhone is notoriously unreliable, you can probably guess the reason for the move: to get a more reliable network for everyone by charging more to those who use the most capacity. According to an AT&T spokesman quoted in this USA Today article, just 3% of smart-phone users account for nearly 40% of traffic.


Of course, if that minority is willing to pay for the extra usage, the network will still be overloaded and calls will still be dropped. The only change will be that AT&T will make a lot more money.


Don't use AT&T? You may not be out of the woods. According to the article above, other carriers are considering following suit.

And that's not all AT&T has announced recently relating to charging more. On June 1, AT&T doubled termination fees for smart phones. Here's a quote from an Open Letter to Our Valued Customers AT&T published on May 21 (words in parentheses are mine).

For customers who enter into new two-year service agreements in connection with the purchase of our more advanced, higher-end devices, including netbooks and smart phones, the ETF (early-termination fee) will increase to $325 (from the current $175) and be reduced by $10 for each month that you remain with us as a customer during the balance of your two-year service agreement. After that, the ETF will no longer apply.

That means that if you quit your contract with only one month to go, you'll still owe AT&T $95.


More from Money Talks News and MSN Money:

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.