Update: AT&T has responded, stating that the policy of forcing smartphone data plans regardless of subsidy has been in effect since the last major change in plan alignment last September, despite no explicit mention in the Terms and Conditions about the policy in regards to unlocked smart devices being used on the carrier.Â AT&T further justifies its position by stating that the policy is fair as smart device users consume more data on average and the unlimited data plan protects them from overages.
AT&T has begun notifying customers that have purchased unbranded and unlocked smart devices used on its network without what the carrier considers an “appropriate data plan” that it is now adding smartphone data plans for those devices automatically, despite not being subsidized by the carrier.
The prevailing wisdom by purchasing an unlocked and unbranded device for use on AT&T is that the customer has the freedom to choose what service plan to sign up for. With the letter, posted after the read more link, AT&T is asserting control over customers that have not received a handset subsidy or purchased branded equipment by forcing more expensive data plans on its customers automatically without an explanation, potentially exposing the carrier to litigation.
Dear Valued Customer,
We hope you are enjoying your Smartphone! We appreciate and value your business and want to be sure you are aware of a change we’ve made to your account to ensure you have the best possible experience with unlimited data usage in the United States.
Smartphones are made for data consumption-surfing the web, social networking, email and more. That’s why we require a Smartphone data plan in conjunction with our Smartphones. This ensures that customers with data intensive devices are not unpleasantly surprised with high data pay-per-use charges-just one low, predictable, flat rate for unlimited use each month.
For whatever reason, our records indicate your Smartphone does not have the correct data plan. As a courtesy, we’ve added the minimum Smartphone data plan for you.
If you would like to select another data plan or have questions, please call 1-800-331-0500 (or 611 from your wireless phone) or visit att.com/smartphoneplans.
Thank you for being an AT&T customer. We look forward to continuing to provide you with a great Smartphone experience.