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AT&T Offering Unlimited Data to Keep iPhone Customers From Defecting to Verizon?

Associated Press reports that AT&T is quietly offering some of its iPhone customers the ability to switch to unlimited data plans as a means to keep them from defecting to Verizon, which is rolling out an unlimited data plan of its own for a limited time as the carrier launches the iPhone next month.

According to the report, AT&T's offer is being made to customers who had previously been on an unlimited data plan for the iPhone on AT&T but had switched to one of the company's lower-cost capped plans when it restructured its data plans as the iPhone 4 was announced last June. As part of that restructuring, customers with unlimited data have been permitted to retain their plans, but those who opted to switch to capped plans were told that once that change had been made they would be unable to switch back to unlimited data at any time in the future.

Based on this new report, AT&T appears to quietly be making exceptions to that policy, allowing users to move back to unlimited data rather than seeing them defect to Verizon.

Verizon Wireless will start offering the iPhone on Feb. 10 with a draw that AT&T no longer offers to new subscribers: a plan with unlimited data usage. But The Associated Press has learned that some AT&T iPhone users on limited plans won't need to move to Verizon for unlimited data.

In an unadvertised loophole, AT&T Inc. has allowed subscribers who have had an unlimited data plan in the past to switch back. That includes anyone who had an iPhone before June, when the limited plans took effect.

AT&T has declined to comment on the change in policy.