Mobile service plans have gone through numerous changes throughout the past year, AT&T is continuing with that trend by increasing the prevalence of its Mobile Share plans. AT&T has already had its new data plans for a while, but will now require them for all new customers and will no longer offer contracts for its current data plans.
AT&T formally announced the change after it was leaked on a few well-known technology publications. AT&T said that since Mobile Share plans have been the most popular option for its new customers, making it the main option should work nicely.
No More Choice
Starting Oct. 25, it will be impossible for new customers to choose a non-Mobile Share plan through AT&T. However, the carrier stressed that unlike some of its competitors, it will not be pressuring current customers to switch their plans.
Therefore, if you have another plan at this point, it appears as though you can continue to upgrade or downgrade that plan for as long as you wish.
By not requiring a change, there will be practically no difference in the way AT&T provides its data services to customers. For new customers, it already seems to be the most common plan chosen, so expanding it should not anger many prospective customers.
AT&T's Mobile Share plans were introduced in July, alongside Verizon's new plans which changed terms in a similar way. Mobile Share is fairly simple, as it allows a group of devices to draw their data from the same "bucket," therefore simplifying the entire billing process and setup when someone wants to add a new phone or tablet to their plan.
As long as a has one smartphone to attach to the plan, they can add another nine tablets or phones before hitting the regular Mobile Share device limit. The cost of having a device on the plan varies depending on what it is. AT&T only charges $10 per month for a tablet or gaming device, but it bumps that up to $30 each month for basic and quick messaging phones.
Data pricing for 1 GB shared is $40, rising to $70 for 4 GB, $90 for 6 GB and $120 for 10 GB. Each smartphone is $45 at the 1 GB level, dropping to $40 for 4 GB, $35 at 6 GB and $30 at 10 GB.
Verizon has set things up in a similar way but has yet to require its own data sharing plans for new customers. As the market moves towards shared data -- which it likely will -- more carriers may follow in AT&T's footsteps. Shared data is becoming increasingly popular as people add more and more connected devices to their personal setup.