Following in Verizon’s footsteps shortly after the introduction of its own shared data plans, AT&T has finally taken the wraps off of its own slate of shared data plans in Mobile Share. The slate of plans is different from Verizon’s own shared data offering in two key ways:
- The new Mobile Share slate of plans does not replace AT&T’s current slate of individual and family plans, being rolled out alongside the current slate as yet another option for families and individuals with multiple devices
- The new Mobile Share plans are actually less hostile to customers than Verizon’s own offering.
The following table breaks down how AT&T’s Mobile Share Plan will work:
|Mobile share with Unlimited Talk & Text||1GB||4GB||6GB||10GB||15GB||20GB|
|Additional data: $15 per GB|
Starting with the 1GB plan which includes unlimited voice and text messaging at $40 a month, an additional smartphone can be added on the account. One caveat with AT&T’s Mobile Share plan is that one smartphone is required on the account in order to obtain the plan starting at $45 for each additional smartphone (which would equal $85 before taxes and fees for the aforementioned plan) and steadily going down the larger the monthly data allotment is per month, up to $200/month for 20GB across a maximum of 10 devices, with devices being further split as follows:
|Basic and quick messaging phones||Laptops, LaptopConnect cards and Netbooks||Tablets and gaming devices|
|$30 each per month||$20 each per month||$10 each per month|
In simple terms, phones are more expensive per month on Mobile Share plans than aircards and tablets/portable consoles, emphasizing the idea that the new MobileShare plans are really meant for those with multiple data-only devices and explains why AT&T wisely decided to retain standard individual and FamilyShare plans rather than replacing them without any other option, a la Verizon. The Mobile Share plans will roll out late next month and AT&T will allow switching to the new plans for current customers without needing a contract extension as well as business customers, which would benefit greatly from the new plans. AT&T has also wisely decided not to change its upgrade policy in order to force customers on Mobile Share plans. AT&T has also provided its own example of total pricing on Mobile Share:
With AT&T rolling out its own slate of shared data plans, what remains to be seen is how the rest of the industry will respond, as other carriers are still experimenting with service plans in order to offer the best choices for customers. What is clear in this case is that AT&T took the harsh lessons learned by Verizon in its rollout of Share Everything and developed an offering that while still more expensive than conventional plans, does give customers with multiple devices options on how to best manage monthly costs without the headaches of being forced on a service plan that may not work for a given customer in the end.