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AT&T Cellphones The Almighty Buck

AT&T Introducing Verizon-Style Shared Data Plans 307

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the get-less-pay-more dept.
zacharye writes with news of some exciting rate changes for folks on ATTWS. From the article: "AT&T on Wednesday announced the upcoming availability of new shared data plans. Following Verizon's lead, AT&T's new plans will allow subscribers to share data between family members and also between devices. Dubbed 'AT&T Mobile Share' plans, the new offerings start at $40 per month plus $45 per device for unlimited voice minutes and messaging and 1GB of data, and top out at $200 plus $30 per device for unlimited voice and texts plus 200GB of data..." My favorite part is where you pay per-device and get nothing in return.
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AT&T Introducing Verizon-Style Shared Data Plans

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  • Oy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daddy-Oh (306170) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:35AM (#40685189)

    I had high hopes that Verizon's shared data would be the right thing for my family plan. None of need 2GB of data a month - we could easily share that. But, the new plan actually costs significantly more.

    And, the unlimited voice has no value to me - we never reach our limit on the shared smallest family plan now.

    Angry (er).

    • Re:Oy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HarrySquatter (1698416) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:38AM (#40685219)

      None of need 2GB of data a month - we could easily share that. But, the new plan actually costs significantly more.

      Because you were naive enough to think these plans were to save you money rather than make the telecoms more money?

      • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
        But this is supposed to get cheaper over time. Sure, let them enable more phones for data, but the price per phone needs to go down.
        • Re:Oy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:51AM (#40686035) Journal

          This just in:

          existing cell phone plans don't get cheaper with time - they go up with additional fees and cramming.

          • Re:Oy (Score:5, Insightful)

            by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:11AM (#40686283)

            Right, we are all familiar with the model - much like AT&T's previous bait and switch with the data plans.

            1. We offer unlimited data!
            2. We are introducing limited data plans as an option, unlimited still available!
            3. We're phasing out unlimited plans, but users who have an unlimited plan can keep the plan!
            4. Users with unlimited plans have to choose a limited plan, but don't worry, very few people exceed it and incurr the pornographic overage fees
            5. (over time, content changes requiring users to use more data to get the same content, and fees ratched up 'naturally'

            So based on that, the future is....?

            1. We offer shared data plans! (if you pay obscene fees that render this a non-money-saver)
            2. We're phasing out any other form of data plan.
            3. We're doing things to your wallet that you can usually only see in a barnyard, due to your inability to control data usage simultaneously for 5 people.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I am in a similar boat, but worse as I easily exceed 2GB and the other phone comes close. We are both on unlimited data plans, have the no longer available 250txt plan and 500 minutes which we never go over.

      I will be dropping Verizon the second they make me switch. I will not pay full price for a phone without a discount on the plan, so that stupid idea is a no go for me.

      • by PNutts (199112)

        In some cases the full price for a phone without a contract is cheaper.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          I am sorry, I was not clear. You are correct a full price phone on a prepaid plan is often cheaper.

          I was referring to Verizon's "helpful" advice to unlimited customers that if they pay full price they would be allowed to keep their old plans.

        • In most cases, it's cheaper - the exceptions tend to be A) if you replace your phone very often with the newest and bestest model and B) if your data/text/voice usage is very high so you need the unlimited plan

          Even in both of those cases, contract-free monthly plans like Virgin Mobile are cheaper. I paid $160 for the phone plus $35/mo for unlimited everything. Over the course of two years, I pay $1000 including the phone. Last I saw, ATT/Verizon had plans over $70 that weren't even close to unlimited anythi

      • You'd think you could build your own plan by now. My data use varies greatly month to month, but rarely tops 2GB (mostly because my phone doesn't run Netflix well), I average under 50 texts per month (sent and received) and rarely use more than 30 minutes of voice a month. I get unlimited everything from Virgin Mobile for $35/mo, which is a reasonable price imo but Sprint has sucky coverage (including at my apartment and at work). ATT and Verizon have good coverage here (both have cell towers on top of the

        • Re:Oy (Score:5, Informative)

          by hazydave (96747) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @12:25PM (#40687313)

          It is the density of towers... but It's not just the towers. AT&T and Verizon both have 850MHz for voice and data, and 700MHz for 4G, which propagate better, not to mention not getting so attenuated by buildings, forests, etc. (AT&T does need 1900MHz for one direction on their 3G connection). Sprint and T-Mo have only the 1900MHz channel for voice and Sprint's 3G. Sprint put WiMax at 2500MHz, which is worse yet... T-Mo's 3G is at 1700MHz and 2100MHz, so less robust. Sprint's putting their LTE at 800MHz, on the old Nextel frequency, so things may eventually get better with them... but that's a couple of years off, I suspect. And data only right now.

          AT&T has also had a tower problem in some areas. When Cingular bought AT&T's mobile phone division, they nixed the old DAMPS system and put the whole company on GSM. But DAMPS had better range per cell. So in some areas, you have coverage that's spottier than it was intended to be, simply because of this (I'm sure they filled in extra cells in cities to deal with this, but it's still an issue in rural areas... one of the reasons AT&T drops more calls, the other being issues with the way GSM 2G does cell handoffs).

    • Re:Oy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:19AM (#40685701) Homepage Journal

      But, the new plan actually costs significantly more.

      That's the idea.

      Internally, AT&T executives refer to it as the "Blood from a Stone Plan".

      The country's largest ISPs believe that you have too much money and that they deserve what you have worked for. It's what I called "Privatized Class Warfare" and is another of the hallmarks of late-stage capitalism. This phenomenon can be identified when a company decides they are going to charge you significantly more while giving you much less. Another identifying characteristic is that the two or three companies in the respective sector all do it at approximately the same time so they don't have to worry about that inconvenient "competition" that is so destructive to terminal-stage capitalism.

      Countdown to AT&T and Verizon merger starts....now.

      • Obviously the chocolate ration is being increased again. Last year it was 30 grams, this year it is 25 grams.

      • by Plekto (1018050)

        This is also exactly what oil companies do as well.

        Sure, there's no actual collusion, but they watch each other minute by minute and move in lock-step to protect their shared interests. Since they have a captive audience, economic theories that you waste your time learning in colleges no longer apply. In the end, those pretty-on-paper theories all fall apart when people get involved and decide to abuse them to their advantage.

    • by jonnythan (79727)

      Interestingly, Verizon's new plans saved me about $20 a month over three phones.

    • It seems none of these companies knows what people really wants.

      1. Reasonable Rates. Data plan should be an extra $20 a month unlimited... Or at a rate where we can use our phones without worry about hitting the peak. Unless we are crazy and do a lot of big downloads, say 8 hours of streaming video a day.

      2. Family plans that give us value. The more people the better the value. So for an extra phone $10 per month added.

      After paying hundreds of dollars for a phone. A family of 4 shouldn't expect to pay m

      • Re:Oy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:35AM (#40685881)

        No, they know what we want. They just don't care. They figure if you can afford a smartphone, you can afford damn near whatever they want to charge you.
        $40 a month plus $45 a device for 1gb? That's a deal so bad it needs to come with a complimentary tube of KY jelly, yet people are going to pay it, because there are no alternatives (or the alternatives suck).

        1gb. seriously 1gb? What is this, 1995? I go through about 200mb a day of wireless data usage, and that's being careful where I visit, using noscript and adblock to keep data usage to a minimum, and generally restraining myself. if I wasn't paying attention, I could do 1gb in less than a half an hour at 4g speeds.

        obligatory slashdot analogy:
        telco - "Ok, here is your 200mph 4G car. it's going to cost you a damn pretty penny, but you've got it!"
        me - "sweet!"
        * vroomm 50mph, vrooooommmm 100mph, vrooooooomm 200mph! screeeeeeeeeaaaachhhhalt.*
        me - "what the hell? It only worked for 30 minutes, now it doesn't work anymore"
        telco - "oh, didn't we tell you? you can only drive at 200mph for 30 minutes a month unless you want to pay us again. pretty much the same ammount. for another 30 minutes."
        me - "why would you advertise that your network is that fast if I'm not allowed to go that fast for anything more than a few minutes?"
        telco - "you're new here, aren't you? just turn around and bend over."

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        we're in a near monopoly of only 3 major carriers - and every "minor" carrier is owned by the majors or runs along their networks.

        We lack so much competition it's a lie to simply act like it makes a difference at the moment. They need to be regulated into common carrier status instead of abusing it.

        To act like rates are going to fix this is to not pay attention to what is causing the rates: the greed/taking advantage of the situation.

    • Re:Oy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by IVI V K (2022732) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @12:06PM (#40687041)

      This is pure collusion, that proves that ATT and Verizon have no intent on competing. If this continues, market regulation or breakup may be required.

      Raising the cost of data from $30 for 3GB to $40 for 1GB is a 300% price increase and unacceptable in any mature market. As unlimited text and calling plans become redundant to cheaper internet based services, the mobile companies are trying to lock in current income for specialized services people will no longer need.

      AT&T and Verizon have developed these plans to protect themselves from the inevitable switch from charging as much as the market will bear for voice, text or data to all services becoming part of the data stream with the next evolution of LTE. These plans are an attempt to challenge the prospect that they may become "dumb pipe" providers of data in place of more expensive add on services.

      Once voice calls are just data streams on the data network, the mobile providers will give you that data for free when using their services, as opposed to charging you for the data if you use skype or another ip phone system. They will still charge you outrageous foreign call rates and international roaming charges when ever possible. This would be a definite violation of network neutrality as they would be providing preferencial treatment to their own, non optional unlimited voice and text plans over competing internet services.

      The new share everything plans acknowledge the diminishing importance of voice and text services, by requiring you to buy unlimited service and shifting the current fees for these services to the first GB of data.

      Even though you some people may actually pay less under these new plans, they are designed solely to protect loss of income that will result when people no longer need high voice minute plans because the competing data based voice plans will be identical in delivery and quality to the mobile provides plans yet without added rates.

      This is a strategy to increase data fees while delivery costs drop to further increase profits while fooling the public into thinking they might be getting a deal.

  • by Tufriast (824996) * on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:36AM (#40685203)
    AT&T was shitty before this point, but now they are no longer even TRYING to mask the fuckening. What's worse is that they have court backing. You can thank all of the "conservative" leaning judges who side with businesses from a legal angle that made this happen. I'd like to point out that left leaning judges are also a bad thing in the long haul. Hell, judges should lean neither way. In any event, a special thanks to the American people for getting us raped and smiling while doing it.
    • by alen (225700) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:41AM (#40685263)

      so go prepaid. you can get "unlimited" data for $30 a month if you're willing to buy your own phone. and with the iphone about to have its 6th generation released there isn't much different every year so it's not like you have to run out and buy a new phone every year to keep up with specs

      most games will play on 2-3 year old phones
      email, evernote and facebook don't need dual core
      in fact 99% of what the phone does is OK on a single core. i could play MP3's 15 years ago on mobile CPU's so it's not like you need multiple cores to read email and listen to music.

      don't listen to the idiots at anandtech who keep dreaming that you need the latest and greatest to do simple things and you will have money. these were the same idiots who were telling people 10 years ago that you needed a $300 graphics card just to run the Windows GUI "fast"

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I am going prepaid once my contract ends. I am not taking your advice about sticking to outdated devices though. It will be new Nexus for me.

        • by CTU (1844100)

          You do know the comment about 'outdated devices' only meant you don't need to buy a new phone every year or two just because there is something new out. You can get that nexus and as long as it don't break, will give you years of use and not need to be tossed out because something slightly better comes out in a few months.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I have a Galaxy Nexus now and a D1 before that.
            I will get the next nexus as well, in a little more than a year. I much rather sell my used phones or give them away then stick with outdated devices.

        • I got the LG Optimus Slider for $160 (Virgin Mobile, owned by Sprint) last November because I wanted the physical keyboard, but they have other smartphones with much better specs still in the $200-and-under range. Then I pay $35/mo for unlimited data/voice/text (no contract). I see this phone lasting me about 3 or 4 years before I feel the need to replace it with something better. As it is, it does most apps reasonbly although the ad-supported version of Angry Birds lags a little (paid version without ads r

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by orthancstone (665890)

        don't listen to the idiots at anandtech who keep dreaming that you need the latest and greatest to do simple things and you will have money. these were the same idiots who were telling people 10 years ago that you needed a $300 graphics card just to run the Windows GUI "fast"

        You'll have to point me to this article on Anandtech that states everyone must go out and purchase the latest and greatest. Until you do so, I'm just going to presume the only idiot here is you for trashing a site that specializes in reviewing new equipment!

        • by alen (225700)

          go read the forums. full of idiots who worry about their old parents who don't know anything getting LTE for no other reason than its new. my crappy out of date motorola droid pro from my employer on CDMA streams pandora and slacker just fine.

      • by tepples (727027)

        so go prepaid. you can get "unlimited" data for $30 a month

        Did you mean "you" or just "some people"? I was under the impression that "unlimited" plans required living in an area with HSPA+ or LTE coverage, which currently means only the largest cities, and that one needed a sufficiently large voice plan in order to qualify for such a data plan, which doesn't help people who only need occasional voice because they aren't using the phone as a land line replacement. What carrier are you talking about so that I can evaluate its offer?

        • by alen (225700)

          Virgin mobile is $30 a month for 300 minutes and unlimited data/texting. it's on crappy sprint but since i'm on wifi most of the day i wouldn't care. GPS? i just bought navigon for my iphone for $30, downloads the maps locally. you just need a GPS signal. no need to pay money to a good network like verizon just to download map tiles as you drive

          i'm personally going straight talk which is $40-$45 a month for unlimited everything and is on AT&T so i can use my AT&T iphones without buying new phones. a

      • My prepaid (T-mobile) plan is $50 a month. that includes unlimited voice and text and 100 meg of 4g data and unlimited 3g data. ya'll should really think about this.

        i was paying for the biggest plan - $70 with all of the above but 5gig of 4g, until i recently got a Clear hotspot - now i get unlimited 4g through the hot spot which I also use for my home. that being said id much rather have comcast or something truly high speed, but the wiring the building is too shitty for that to work.

        note i DID pa
    • by game kid (805301)

      Love that word "fuckening". Sounds like "fuck" + the "reckoning" of the true nature of the current telecom market (among other markets): businesses who compete...to achieve the highest price.

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:37AM (#40685217)

    i have a 4 line family plan on AT&T with 2 of them out of contract or very close to being out of contract

    a few months ago i assumed i would just add more devices to the plan and they would use the existing 4GB of data my wife and I have and half of which we don't use. my father in law wants an iphone but not the extra $25 a month. and i could have made my next ipad a LTE ipad.

    except now i pay more for 1GB of data instead of the current 4GB I have and have to pay a lot for unlimited minutes and texts which are almost free for AT&T to carry

    smart talk can't get here fast enough since my wife's iphone 4 contract expires next month

    • by darjen (879890)

      Prepaid is definitely the way to go. I got my wife a used iPhone 4 and put a gophone sim in it. I added $100 to her phone, and assuming she doesn't go overboard on minutes, the minutes will lst a whole year before they expire. I still hang on to my used droid 2 and put it on page plus for $12 a month, 250 voice 250 texts. I also have an lte iPad and that is on Verizon's $30 a month tablet plan. So I still get mobile data and only pay about half of what I was before I sold my galaxy nexus. The savings essent

    • Did you mean Straight Talk?

      Once my AT&T contract is over (maybe before - going to look into whether my ETF is prorated) I'm going to ST + unlocked phones (possibly the next Nexus now that Google is selling them on the Play Store.)

      Through my employer, I get 25% off of my plan and 50% off of my accessories, however:
      1) I still am spending $25/mo more on AT&T than I would on Straight Talk
      2) AT&T's phone selection sucks, and their software update policies have been atrocious. Every official update

    • I hope you don't use a lot of data then. After your first 250MB of data on 3G speeds they slice your data speed way down to something not much better than dial up.
      • by alen (225700)

        most months i use less than 1GB. i'm on wifi almost everywhere. NYC is installing free wifi everywhere. why pay for mobile data?

        for streaming music you can cache locally with spotify and slacker without the need to stream all the time

  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:39AM (#40685235) Homepage

    In my case, 4 friends and myself all have smartphones together on my plan. Since nobody really talks on their phones much (what is this, 1992?) we share a 700 minute plan, and have something like 4,500 rollover minutes. But we do use a good bit of data and billions of texts are sent every month. (3 women.)

    So I did some quick calculation: $90 a month for the 6GB plan with all the unlimited texting and etc. 5 smartphones at $35 a piece, yielding monthly total of $265 before taxes. Right now, our bill is $280 after taxes. That's $56 a month per person. Not so bad. The new plans would put us at $53 per person. /shrug. So we gain unlimited talk time we don't use, save $3 per person a month. Not terribly motivating.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:48AM (#40685355)

      You think there will be less than $15 in taxes and "fees"?

      I bet that $265 becomes $300 after all is said and done.

    • The T-Mobile family plans are much more affordable if you bring your own phone.

      Look at the 500 minute value plan. You can get 0GB, 200MB, 2GB, 5GB, or 10GB data on a per device basis, so you can get 2GB for someone who just does some web browsing, 5GB for those who listen to podcasts and does occsional tethering, and 10GB for those who do a lot of tethering. The 5GB and 10GB plans allow tethering without jumping through any hoops.

      The coverage isn't as good as Verizon or AT&T, but it is pretty darn good

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      That's $56 a month per person.
      Back in the day, we had to pay $20 a month for a family plan. In our case, that worked out to $5 a person. Of course, understandably there has been some inflation since then, but there has also been increases in technology which have outpaced inflation, so family plans probably ought to be down to $5 per family now.
  • AT&T bugs me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:40AM (#40685245) Homepage
    Carriers incur no cost for tethering (and soon for Fcae Time over cell), because the data used still comes out of the amount paid for. Carriers incur no cost for messages, because they are part of the phone's sync to the tower, or in the case of iMessages, come out of the data plan. But AT&T charges (very high) fees for messages and tethering, and soon will for Face Time apparently, in addition to the data that they use being paid for. Thing is, I'd use far more text messages, and periodically use tethering, and periodically use Face Time over cell when it's available, and all of these would drive up my data usage and thus make AT&T money. But instead, I just don't use the features, which is slight inconvenience to me, but on net must be a heck of a hit to AT&T shareholders, because their company is leaving money on the table by continuing to insist on pricing services like it was the mid-1980s.
    • Re:AT&T bugs me (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:05AM (#40685547) Homepage

      Carriers incur no cost for messages, because they are part of the phone's sync to the tower,

      I thought the same way until a previous Slashdot comment explained how this works in detail. While the text messages use the same packet format as the phone's sync to the tower, it still causes additional packets, and bigger packets. So the bandwidth is not free. It would be like sending an email by embedding it inside DNS requests. Yes, you need to make DNS requests anyway, but sending an email through them would not make the bandwidth free.

      Ultimately, this does not change your point though, it is just a nitpick. Their policies are ridiculous. Charging for Face Time over cell networks is an awesome example of why we need network neutrality. (Sorry Ron Paul - I like you but you are wrong on this one!) If I were Verizon, I would have my marketing department jump all over this one. I can use my bandwidth for whatever I want on my Verizon + Android combo.

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        I thought the same way until a previous Slashdot comment explained how this works in detail. While the text messages use the same packet format as the phone's sync to the tower, it still causes additional packets, and bigger packets. So the bandwidth is not free. It would be like sending an email by embedding it inside DNS requests. Yes, you need to make DNS requests anyway, but sending an email through them would not make the bandwidth free.

        In your example though, the DNS request is sent along with all oth

    • Carriers incur no cost for tethering

      The explanation I've always been told is that mobile data networks' capacity is oversold, and carriers rely on customers to underuse their allotment. Customers who tether are more likely to use their full allotment.

      Carriers incur no cost for messages, because they are part of the phone's sync to the tower

      It costs more than zero to route the messages through the back-end network.

      their company is leaving money on the table

      ...by pricing services so as to grow at a rate that the carrier can maintain.

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      You are not everybody. The sooner we get this, the sooner we can stop worrying. People don't know and don't care that texting and tethering are effectively free to the carrier, and because of this the carrier charges fees and 99.999% of customers are none the wiser.

      You want to change things? Blast your message out to everyone that it's cost-neutral. Here's the thing, though: You won't reach the vast majority of people, and those you reach are likely to completely ignore you. Inertia is a powerful force

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      Carriers incur no cost for tethering

      That's like saying they incur no cost for voice calls. Tethering increases data use, so increases carrier costs -- even if you stay under your "free" allowance. The carrier oversells bandwidth (and voice capacity) because they know not everyone is going to use their allotment of bundled data and minutes. But if everyone tethered and suddenly increased their data use, the carriers would have to spend money increasing their cellular network capacity.

  • That's the sound of crickets [mycricket.com].
    • These prepaid MVNOs tend to run CDMA2000 without CSIM, and CDMA2000 without CSIM generally works only with phones sold by the carrier. I couldn't find a phone running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on Cricket's web site. What am I missing?
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Go with straight talk or T-mobile or Simple Mobile.
        Then buy a Galaxy Nexus from the play store.

        You could also get a Verizion Galxy Nexus and port it over.

  • "My favorite part is where you pay per-device and get nothing in return"

    Surely you get connection to the network and unlimited calls/text for the $30-$45 per device (even if you assume you no extra data because you could have used it all on the first device).

    Seems reasonable if an unlimited call/text plan is normally $70 for a single device.

    • "My favorite part is where you pay per-device and get nothing in return"

      Surely you get connection to the network and unlimited calls/text for the $30-$45 per device (even if you assume you no extra data because you could have used it all on the first device).

      Seems reasonable if an unlimited call/text plan is normally $70 for a single device.

      $40/mo bill for services + $45/mo premium for phone ownership = $85/mo (for a single device)

      This is to the exclusion of all the excise fees, taxes, and other miscellaneous bullshit telcos charge customers; I foresee a single device costing well over $100/mo on this new plan.

      • Re:Sharing? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tauvix (97917) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:11AM (#40685627)

        $40/mo bill for services + $45/mo premium for phone ownership = $85/mo (for a single device)

        This is to the exclusion of all the excise fees, taxes, and other miscellaneous bullshit telcos charge customers; I foresee a single device costing well over $100/mo on this new plan.

        This plan isn't for someone with a single phone. Nowhere has anyone said they're eliminating Individual plans, or existing family talk plans. This is for large groups, with a diverse set of devices.

        If you have a single phone, stick with your Individual plan. If you have 2-3 people, stick with a Family Talk plan.

      • Yes it doesn't seem like a value to me. It doesn't really scale up.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Nearly no one wants an unlimited call/txt plan. 100 of each would be more than enough for me.

      • Re:Sharing? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:02AM (#40685523)

        Nearly no one wants an unlimited call/txt plan. 100 of each would be more than enough for me.

        You are forgetting young people (teenagers, mostly). Each of my nephews and my younger sister can go through a 20-30 texts per day without trying hard.

        • So, what you are saying is "one size doesn't fit all". Yet, this is exactly what AT&T and VZ are doing, going to "one size fits all" plan.

          The shittiest part, is that it is becoming clear that there is no "choice".

          "You can have a car in any color you like, as long as it is black"

        • I'm a curmudgeonly 36 year old who was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of texting just over a year ago. Between my kids and my friends, I easily blow through a hundred a day... don't forget, that's both directions. So, if somebody texts you..

          "Hey U R lame."

          "haha jk"

          "Want 2 see Batman tonite?"

          "It's playing at King's at 8:30"

          "We'll get drinks after."

          That's 5 texts before you even respond. People with unlimited plans aren't likely to be cognizant or necessarily respectful of t
      • by Tauvix (97917)

        My family, with 6 adults on the account, uses close to 1600 minutes a month, and over 5000 texts per month. I'm quite happy with getting unlimited calling and texting.

  • Currently, I use US Cellular, and pay $30 a month for my data plan, which includes 5GB. How is paying $40 a month, plus $40 per device, and only getting 1GB going to be better than the competition?
    • Alas, US Cellular doesn't sell that 5 gig data plan for $30 anymore. See here [uscellular.com]. Also, US Cellular doesn't share data between phones in the same data plan. Hold on to that current contact!
  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:43AM (#40685289)
    Ya got to love this competition that drives these major cellular companies to offer prices that are very competitive and it seems they are always trying to out do each other with their outrageous deals.
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:43AM (#40685293)

    But when you have a phone on it's own it's only $10 a GB.

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:50AM (#40685377)

    i remember the inflation of the early part of the last decade. i used to shop at costco and all the food and other things you bought on a regular basis would go up in price every month.

    but things like a 5 year supply of toilet cleaner or a 10 year supply of plastic wrap stayed the same. i still have a 3000 foot roll of plastic wrap i bought at costco like 7 years ago.

    its crazy, some stuff at costco will outlast marriages

    same here, the cheap stuff like minutes and text AT&T is giving A LOT of for less. the value which is the data they are charging an arm and a leg for. and if i have 4GB why am i still going to pay $20 for a tablet on my plan even if i don't use any data on it?

    Apple and Samsung are at fault too. $700 for a new phone? they are living on fat margins which are about to come crashing down as people go prepaid and keep their phones as long as a laptop

  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:50AM (#40685379)

    For individual users this "bucket" plan is similar to the old plan. But seriously, this stuff is getting expensive with the big carriers. I switched from ATT to verizon years ago because I hated getting dropped calls. Never happened again in Verizon. Then I got their unlimited data and a smart phone. It was awesome and fast. Then they started capping their data and I upgraded the phone which did not grandfather me into their unlimited data plan. That's when things started to down hill... very fast.

    That's when I realized I was paying way too much. I was paying $80/month for 2gig data, 350minutes and 500 txt message limit. I could pay over $100 for unlimited texting alone but everything else the same.

    It was getting ridiculous and 3G was just getting slower for me because verizon would cap your speed if you went over 200mb!!! They said it was to help with people from going over the 2gig limit and to get the full speed again you have to go through a month where your data usage was less than 200mb... which basically meant you had to not use your phone at all for a month and still pay for it...

    So, I switched to Virgin Mobile.

    Yes, I paid $300 for my HTC Evo V 4g 3D phone, but the fact that it comes with no contract and a minimum $35/month bill for 350 minutes and unlimited texting and data* *they cap the speed if you go over 2.5gigs but once you pay that $35 phone card the limit is reseted. If you plan on having the phone for 2 years, that totals to $12.5 a month for paying the phone, which makes $35 + $12.5 = $47.5, which is still far cheaper than any plan out there from ATT, Sprint or Verizon (and TMobile). Plus you can buy the prepaid cards and not pay tax on them, so that's a true, flat $35/month payment.

  • Allow? (Score:4, Funny)

    by EzInKy (115248) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:56AM (#40685465)

    Since when has it been disallowed for family members to share data? Isn't exchanging and preserving information the defining charcteristic of humankind? Perhaps if we are lucky they'll allow us to walk upright as well.

  • How the hell these guys still have customers???
  • by Tauvix (97917) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:06AM (#40685571)

    This is most likely going to save me money. I can see where someone with only 3 phones on their account potentially wouldn't save any money with this, but I have 6 on mine. Because of existing AT&T rules, I can only have up to 5 phones per voice plan. So I currently end up with 2 voice plans.

    By the time I'm done, we have the following structure:
    $90/month plan w/ 1 additional $10/month phone (1400 minutes, and yes, the people on this plan regularly get close to that)
    $70/month plan w/ 1 additional $10/month phone (700 minutes)
    5 $30/month unlimited data plans (the average usage per month over the last year being about 1.2GB per month, per user)
    1 $25/month 3GB plan
    2 $30/month family unlimited texting/mobile-to-any-mobile plans.

    Before taxes and add-ons like phone insurance, and my company discount, I currently pay $415/month.

    By switching to the new structure it'd look like this (before taxes, add-ons, and discount):
    $120 10GB/month plan (including unlimited voice and texting)
    6 $30/month phone connection fee

    $300/month. I'm going to save $115/month by switching to these plans, and if 10GB/month isn't enough, I can upgrade to the 15GB/month plan for another $40, and STILL save a bunch.

    Is this a good deal for everyone? No. But in my situation, I believe it will be a good deal for my family (yes, everyone on my plan is related to me) of all adults, who are mostly around WiFi, half of whom are power users, and half of whom are normal users.

    Also, before anyone pops up with "You should go prepaid!" I looked into going prepaid. While certainly it would work for 1 or 2 of my family members, the coverage for Sprint (which Virgin rides on) is crap in my area, and some of my family regularly travels to Canada, which - the last time i checked - is problematic. Some of that may have changed (certainly not the Sprint coverage - people complain constantly in my office), I admit, but I appear to be one of the few people with AT&T who has never experienced a problem with customer service, coverage, or data speeds.

    • by alen (225700)

      canada has GSM

      go straight talk which is GSM over AT&T and just use a canadian SIM when you go to canada

  • You already own your phone, but still have to sign a 2 year contract, with all the credit checking and data sharing among businesses.

    Continue to count me out.

  • At least Sprint has an unlimited plan. But they have pathetic 4G LTE coverage and their 3G painful at times, so good luck using that unlimited data to it's full potential.

  • ... are abundant resulting in significant competition.

    A floor price on these plans of roughly 100 USD/month for 2-years is ridiculous.

  • Big Telecom has found a big, legal way to bilk people out of their money. These shared data plans are a scam! I can't believe they so brazenly do this when there are clear, viable alternatives. I've been with a prepaid carrier since 2009 and contract free and I'm not "credit challenged." It makes sense for everyone to investigate prepaid. Buy your phones refurbished or gently used at significant discounts and then activate them on prepaid carriers. I got my brother, mom, and dad on Page Plus Cellular.
  • Before everyone had a cheap cell in their pocket we all bitched about Long Distance costs and how artificial they were. After all, it didn't really cost phone companies anything to send a call through a few extra relays.

    Now you place a cell call anywhere in the US and it's only a question of whether you are using minutes. In order to soak us service providers have switched their punitive pricing to data. SMS costs are ridiculous for the tiny amounts of data involved. Data caps and throttling keep people

  • I have never, ever saved a dime when changing, or re-rolling my contract. About all you have to look forward to is a price break on a new phone every two years. It seems the mobile carriers always have it worked out so that you can choose between being nickel-and-dimed to death in monthly data/text/voice charges, or slayed with the sledgehammer of monthly "premium data" contracts.

    I've not removed the wires for my landline yet and still have an answering machine in a box in the basement in the event I go ba

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