AT&T continues to drive the stake deeper into the heart of Pay As You Go service on GoPhone, primarily to push its preferred GoPhone Pick Your Plan monthly service offering. While the carrier recently realigned its Pick Your Plan service offerings to include up to 1GB of data per month for featurephones and smartphones, it did so at the expense of Pay As You Go Users, who were meant to receive the following text message regarding changes to add-on packages for data access:
“On 4/18 data packages and auto renew will be only available with monthly plans. Pls move to monthly plan if you want 2 continue data package use.”
On a purely legal level, this does count as AT&T giving advance notice of a material change in service. However, the problem lies in the fact that the majority of PAYG GoPhone users never received the above message and are just now finding out that they are unable to re-add their previous data packages. GoPhone PAYG users are now being forced to spend even more per month just to regain data access at a reasonable rate instead of paying the more expensive per kb rate.
Naturally, this has led to complaints of poor service by AT&T and has led many to seek alternatives. For PAYG service, we suggest taking a look at Consumer Cellular’s BYOD offering, as the $10 monthly rate includes voice minutes at $0.25/minute and unlike AT&T, allows monthly data packages starting at $2.50 a month for 100 messages and 10MB of access all the way up to $30 a month for 5,000 messages and 500MB of access.
While AT&T’s CEO makes veiled threats to raise prices in the wake of the blocked and failed T-Mobile purchase, it looks like it has already started to make good on that promise by starting with its most cost conscious users, who typically rely on GoPhone’s Pay As You Go offering to control costs, as it was one of the least expensive ways to have occasional voice and data access without needing to pay more expensive monthly rates.