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iPad Bait and Switch — No More Unlimited Data Plan 670

_KiTA_ writes "AT&T announced today that the iPhone will gain tethering, finally, at an extra $20 a month, but only for people on a new 2GB a month plan. They also quietly announced at the same time the real news — that the $30 Unlimited Data plan on the iPad 3G will be axed in lieu of the same data plan. Yes, this would be the same 'revolutionary data plan' that Steve Jobs was so proud of during the iPad unveiling — it lasted just a month after the 3G model was delayed to May 7. People feeling vibes of previous Apple iDevice releases are not alone. Existing accounts will be allowed to grandfather in, although Apple has removed the ability to purchase the iPad from the online store at this time, and AT&T has a history of changing its plans without warning. Finally, there is no word on what happens if you ever let your Unlimited plan lapse for a month at this time."
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iPad Bait and Switch — No More Unlimited Data Plan

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  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crow_t_robot ( 528562 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:14AM (#32429756)
    Congrats to the early adopters, I guess. Apparently, these two companies are making so much money that they can just do whatever they want now without repercussion.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume ( 22995 )

      Yes, how terrible that they are changing the terms that they are offering to new customers. Vile. Just vile.

      I guess it's a bit of a bummer for the people that paid extra for the 3G with the idea that they might activate it only now and then, but I'm not sure they should have expected the terms to last forever (but expecting the terms to last for more than a month probably isn't crazy).

      • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:54AM (#32432682)
        Garnering massive amounts of free publicity about your revolutionary new data plans, then dropping them without similar fanfare a couple of months later sounds a little underhand, you have to admit. There's no way this was a short term decision, they must have known about this in advance, the least these companies can do is be honest - most people resent the fact that it seems like they're being gamed more than they resent the changes themselves, and I know it's naive and that's just the way the world works, but it doesn't mean doesn't royally suck.
    • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:09AM (#32431966) Homepage Journal
      I wonder how long until Apple and Google get tired of screwing around with the phone carriers and just buy them out? Apple's market cap is higher than AT&T's and way higher than any of the other mobile carriers. Google already is experimenting with their own networks. They should form a joint venture to buy out and unify mobile carriers so they can package service with their devices. Trying to sell the actual data service is a dying business anyway but if it sells devices and other services it could be a worthwhile purchase. Sell off the parts they don't want and inside of a couple years they could be a serious player. AT&T would be plausible but a big fish but Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint would all be pretty easy.

      The real market, besides the devices themselves, is the services related to the devices. It's only a matter of time before cloud storage, on-demand extra processing power, app sells, and even ads are all major sources of income for these mobile devices so throwing in cheap data plans is just a way to get people spending on the other goodies.

      Anyone that thinks Apple or Google aren't pushing for cheaper data plans is just blind. Why do you think Apple was selling the $30/mo unlimited no contract data plan so much? I bet Jobs is pissed at AT&T.
  • by Miros ( 734652 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:15AM (#32429770)
    AT&T knows that it will lose its shirt selling unlimited dataplans in the long run, particularly on a device like the iPad which will probably be even worse for them in terms of bandwidth consumption than the iPhone. Still sucks though, and still has that unsavory characteristic of a bait-and-switch. Well folks, it looks like AT&T decided to show up for the "get rich quick off the iPad party" after all. He makes a foul guest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      How, exactly, would they lose their shirts?

      I get cable service to my house for something just short of $30/month - I don't pay much attention to the bills. It's pretty shoddy service as far as cable is concerned - only 5Mbit/2Mbit.

      But it's under $30. For this cable installation they need to put in:
      * Reels of very expensive copper cable.
      * Fiber between neighborhoods.
      * Relay boxes/aggregators/whatever they call them in each neighborhood.
      * VoIP analog boxes on every house, whether they're using phone service

  • Luxury items (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Luxury prices. You want it, you get it, now shut up. I'll keep my PC, thankyouverymuch.

  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:17AM (#32429788)

    Outside of tech and telecom, are there any industries that can get away with "reserving the right" to "change the terms of this agreement without notice" or to sell products without "any implied fitness for merchantability or usefulness for any purpose"? Car companies and real estate deals could never operate with this kind of crap -- people just wouldn't stand for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I once read the back of a Greyhound ticket, and I am pretty sure it said something to the effect of "change the terms of this agreement without notice." Now, I would not say it is really a comparison, since they would be hard pressed to charge people extra for a ticket they already purchased or to pull other "bait and switch" schemes, but that sort of legalese is not really unique to tech companies.
      • by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

        I've never had to deal with it outside of tech and telecom. I've been royally, and probably illegally screwed before by ISPs, including one which changed the terms of my contract, including removing the part that said terms couldn't be changed except with 30-day notice, then tried to charge me with "hacking" for accessing a shell account my contract gave me the right to access.

        Sure, credit card companies adjust rates, but that is known (or should be) going into the deal... and now there is a law against do

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        nor is it enforceable.

        Lawyers can write what they want, 90% of it is worthless and means nothing. They just hope that you are not smart enough to understand that.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          nor is it enforceable.

          It's enforceable if paying what the contract says would cost an individual customer less than hiring a lawyer to get a judge to declare it unenforceable.

    • I fail to see why contract issues would matter in this case. The 3G data plan is not on a contract. That was kinda the whole point, unlimited data just on the months you need it.

      This is of course partially Apple's fault as well as AT&T, because Apple tied the iWhatevers to AT&T. Its about time that Apple gets hit with the same wonderful consideration that normal people receive every day when they are locked into a particular vendor.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Yup... If AT&T were being honest they would also announce that all incoming SMS messages were now free once more, like it was.

        but they dont want to let go of that money fountain either...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chrish ( 4714 )

        iPhones aren't locked to a specific carrier in Canada, you can get them on Rogers, Bell or Telus.

        And yet, amazingly, all three offer identical plans at identical rates.

        Purely coincidental, of course, there's no collusion in telecommunications, just like there's no collusion at the gas pumps.

        When iPad and iPhone are available on other US carriers, you have exactly the same situation to look forward to. You'll be able to get exactly the same plan at exactly the same price from any of 2-3 different "competitor

    • Outrage Overload operates in their favour. By the time anyone can actually get an action into court, they've changed their terms another half dozen times, and you're arguing over ancient history. Really, isn't life short enough already?
    • by forand ( 530402 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:36AM (#32429954) Homepage
      Credit card companies and airlines do these things quite often. Ever get a notice in the mail that your APR on your credit card went up? They just changed the contract. Ever had a flight canceled but be charged to reschedule? They changed the contract on you. All because they reserved the right in the original contract to do so. I am baffled, however, how any such contract can be considered legal and binding, it clearly favors one party to a ludicrous degree and provides no method for a resolution of changes for BOTH parties (one side dictates all the terms).
      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:58AM (#32430168)

        It is illegal (in the US) for an airline to do that to you. If they cancel a flight (or even if circumstances force a cancellation), they have to provide you with an alternate flight. They even have to pay for accommodations if the next available flight is the next day.

        If you use any kind of travel agency, they are free to charge you whatever they'd like for the rescheduling.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cervo ( 626632 )
          They can get out of this by claiming weather or other factors out of their control.... Similarly they can use these excuses to get out of causing a missed connection....
      • by Late Adopter ( 1492849 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:37AM (#32432402)
        Credit cards in particular, are handled by the card companies (and by the law) in a way very different from the way consumers look at them. From the credit card company's point of view, they are establishing a loan to you FOR THE BILLING PERIOD, at that month's apr. If you choose to "revolve" the loan into the next billing period, that's a whole new agreement, which you're free to take or leave, understanding that "leaving" requires paying off your loan in full.
    • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:39AM (#32429988)

      You got +5 Interesting, but are entirely off topic. AT&T are changing the plans they offer, existing customers don't lose their current plans.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by boaworm ( 180781 )

      How about the airline industry? They can decide to do a lot of stuff on-the-fly. Like cancel your flight. Or have you pre-pay for a specific seat and when you board they tell you that the airplane has a different layout and that you will end up sitting somewhere else.

      Or change how much luggage you can bring on board. Or what can be in that luggage. I'm very sure you cannot claim that it was allowed to bring a bottle of something on board at the time I purchased my ticket, so I want to bring it on board now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

        Re: airlines -- there are legitimate changes in logistics due to mechanical failure, weather pattern changes, volcanoes, whatever else have you, that can affect what planes or crew are available, or whether or not the flight can safely take off.

        I'm sure there are examples in other industries of this sort of thing happening from time-to-time, but it just seems to me to be endemic in tech and telecom. Look at software for instance -- "pay s $300 for the right to use what's on this plastic disk, but not owner

  • by calderra ( 1034658 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:18AM (#32429794)
    This isn't bait and switch- this is clearly STEVE JOBS' ORIGINAL VISION! Only now has technology caught up to his masterful insight, such that the product and the plans he always envisioned can be offered together!
  • by clinko ( 232501 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:20AM (#32429806) Journal

    2gigs times 0k/sec

    At this rate we all have an unlimited plan!

  • Complain Much? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I agree that losing the unlimited plan isn't great, and that the new plans should be set higher than 200MB and 2GB per month.

    Other than that you are off base. You can purchase the iPad online at Apple's website. How would you like AT&T to notify you of changing plans? They are changing the plans with a week's notice, if you don't like the new plan you don't have to switch to it. Simple. The new 200MB plan would probably work for most people and save them money since they have wifi in their home and

  • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:21AM (#32429810)

    "We're not happy until you are not happy"

  • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:24AM (#32429836)

    At first like the submitter I thought this was only for the iPhone and iPad, but after checking the press release from AT&T [] it turns out it's for all Smartphones. So these are the new data plans for the iPhone, the iPad, the Nexus One (and all other Android phones), the N900 - everything.

    AT&T claims that this will bring down bills for the average user, and I don't doubt this is true. However the better the Smartphone the easier it is to burn through data, so this seems to be a tactical strike against all high-end Smartphone users, and a blatant attempt to drive away iPad users (2GB for an entire month of browsing on a 10" device, really?). And this is timed to coincide with the launch of the next-gen iPhone, which is widely beleived to have a front-facing camera for video conferencing, which would burn through additional data. I also don't know how you're going to get away with significant video streaming on 2GB a month, but perhaps that's the idea?

    Progress, it seems, is getting less for more. Ultimately the 5GB of data that actually came with an "unlimited" plan is now $25 + $30 in overages. It continues to amaze me just how far we've come since 2008...

  • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:24AM (#32429842)

    well, this will put a crimp in whether to purchase that snazzy new iPhone purportedly coming out this month. Nice, AT&T. First we find out that yes, AT&T has a 5 year exclusive deal, so yes, you will only be able to buy the new iPhone on AT&T's crappy network because you'll be there for 2 years. But now with the 2GB cap (tethered only? Or do you have the option of the original unlimited without it? The TFA doesn't say) it all of a sudden becomes hmmmm, should I? Maybe a Droid isn't so bad after all despite its shortcomings in usability.

    The long and the short of this one is: guess I won't jump to the phone I really wanted if there is no unlimited plan, as I'm not interested in getting walloped with that nice $1/MB or whatever they're charging as overrage fees.

    • by Enry ( 630 )

      Maybe a Droid isn't so bad after all despite its shortcomings in usability.

      Wait, what?

  •'s all fun and stuff in the beginning until you hit reality. Next.
  • Now they're just laughing at us.
    I wonder if these changes were due to unexpected demand, and them knowing there's a larger amount of people who'll be happy to be gouged.

  • by cwingrav ( 8705 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:29AM (#32429892)

    So, they are producing two new dataplans that are cheaper then the current that they say cover 98% of their use base. To me, I think this means I'm going to at least save $5 a month here. Also, tethering is FINALLY announced! I'm excited with this news! I would like unlimited tethering but I work with technology and realize not all things are feasible as continued unlimited plans, especially with tethering, would destroy an already slammed network.

    Slashdot seems to be missing reality here and the compromise that AT&T is making with their network. Ok, hit me with all your complaints about how evil something or other is.

    • So, they are producing two new dataplans that are cheaper then the current that they say cover 98% of their use base. To me, I think this means I'm going to at least save $5 a month here. Also, tethering is FINALLY announced! I'm excited with this news!

      This is like the culmination of everything bad about Slashdot, distilled down to the essence of why the general posting population have got the tech market so wrong for about a decade now.

      It's yet another "No wireless. Less space than a nomad moment" except

  • Apple has removed the ability to purchase the iPad from the online store at this time...

    WTF? I just checked the Apple Store and you CAN buy iPads online.

  • APPL (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cosm ( 1072588 )
    Let me do everybody a favor:

    apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple

    Ok, now that that's out of our system, can we talk about something else for once?
  • Google FTW. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headhot ( 137860 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:36AM (#32429962) Homepage

    I heart my Nexus 1. Not being tied to a carrier.

    Shell out the bucks out front. You'll save it in the long run.

    • Abso-fing-lutely (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Overzeetop ( 214511 )

      Screw AT&T - take your Nexus One you've got on AT&T's network and get a plan from Verizon!

      Oh, it doesn't work on Verizon. Well, fuck that - go to Sprint!

      Oh, it doesn't work on Sprint either. Damn it, go use T-moboile!

      Oh, it won't do data on their high speed network.

      See, even if you buy your own hardware, the lack of cellular data standards will fuck you over anyway. Unless, of course, you want to buy another unsubsidized phone, in which case you can pay an extra $600 (=$25/mo for two years) to switc

  • by tananda ( 85834 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:43AM (#32430030)

    OK guys, calm down.

    If you already have an iPad, you can get grandfathered in, and AT&T /can not/ legally change your plan once you're on it (read your terms and conditions, it's in there. slamming and cramming = bad). Grandfathered plans /will not/ be removed unless the feature actually gets removed from your account.. and you (or someone with access to your account.. don't give out your SSN and/or passcode) are the only one who can authorize that.. (and if it gets removed by accident and it WASN'T authorized.. well.. it /can/ be added back.. you just need to get a manager to override it).

    Furthermore.. iPhone tethering has always been available.. it's called a jailbreak. It's not hard. Just google "spirit jailbreak" and in less than 10 minutes you'll have Cydia and can download the tethering app of your choice, whether AT&T likes it or not. Poof, iPhone tethering with unlimited data, no need to wait for Apple to release OS4 to the iPhone and then get put on a 2gb plan for the iPhone as well -- keep your iphone unlimited data forever if you want. 3

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:24AM (#32430484) Homepage Journal

    If you're limited to 2GB of data, and half of that data turns out to be web-based advertising you don't want, then call up AT&T customer service *every time* you download an ad, and demand a credit to your 2GB limit.

    After all, if you started getting unwanted text messages every time you got on your phone, and you were paying 20 cents per text message, I bet you'd call them up to demand a credit. Or let's say you recieved long, unsolicited sales calls about buying time-shares or something on your cell, which you are paying airtime for, and I bet you'd complain.

    So, the only way to get them to change is to cost them a zillion dollars in customer service time by calling them up EVERY TIME you download an ad. Otherwise, you're paying twice.

  • by realisticradical ( 969181 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:18AM (#32432080) Homepage
    AT&T is doing something I've never understood why people let companies get away with. They're charging an extra $20/month for the tethering plan. Tethering is something that the iPhone does by itself it doesn't require any expense at all for AT&T. I could understand their tactic if they were still offering unlimited data plans because you would expect someone who uses their cell phone as a modem for their computer to use a lot more data. That's not what they're doing though, they're selling 2gb of data for $25/month. What's AT&T's excuse exactly? That for tethering users they're worried that people will actually use the data that they're paying for?

    This is one of the reasons companies like to offer "unlimited" one-size-fits-all plans. The plan is unlimited but really it's more like 5gb, and almost nobody actually uses that much, and it's not ok to tether because then you'll be using more than they planned for, and nobody complains because you think of it as a plan that's "unlimited" but only up to the point that a cell phone would be expected to use. (Essentially Comcast and their ilk do the same, my "home" internet is "unlimited" but not exactly and only in the amount and reliability that a home user would expect, and in some ways that's ok.) But when these companies decide to change the plan to "you get 2gb/month" then I damn well expect that my 2gb should be given to me in whatever way I want it.

    There's another little thing in this press release that I'm a fan of. For the 200mb plan (really, 200mb, really?): "If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the cycle." And for the 2gb plan, "Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle." Hooray everybody, it's the old Blockbuster late fee model! Use 2.001gb of data in a month pay for 4! Hooray!

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @01:34PM (#32434414)
    AT&T: I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further.

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