AT&T Axes Unlimited Data for iPhone Users

AT&T will no longer be providing the already overpriced $30/month unlimited data plan to new customers. Their new plans are $15/month for 250MB of data, and $25 for 2GB. Tethering is $20/month extra, and is only available for the $25 plan. (So you’ll have to give up your existing unlimited plan if you want to tether your iPhone when OS 4.0 is available.) The good news is that there isn’t a cap. If you want to use more than 2GB you’re more than welcome. You will just have to pay $10 for every additional gigabyte of data you use.

Wow. If you think about it, you’re paying $10-12.50 per gigabyte. Pricing like that is just…unreal.

I find the tethering charge outrageous as well, perhaps more so than the steep data prices. A $20 monthly “convenience fee” for the pleasure of having a feature built into the phone activated. You don’t get any more data out of it, just the same 2GB plan you’re already paying for. There is absolutely no reason for AT&T to charge for something that costs them absolutely nothing to provide, and something that may very well cause you to reach your quota sooner. You get nothing for your $20, except for an Apple-provided feature that AT&T decided you shouldn’t be able to use without forking over an Andrew Jackson.

AT&T’s argument for their axing of the unlimited plan is that 98% of their customers use less than 2GB monthly. If that’s the case, why is it necessary to get rid of the unlimited plan? If only a tiny percentage of users, probably the most loyal customers, are using more, what difference will it make to stop them from using five gigabytes? (I doubt anyone is using much more than that on a phone yet, though it’s certainly possible with streaming video.) It will stifle innovation, just for a bit more profit.

Here’s an idea. If you can download at 100 kilobits per second, your “cap” should be 32.4 gigabytes. If I did my math correctly, that should be how much data you can use if you were downloading 24/7 for an entire 30-day month.