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AT&T's Plans for Shared Data Packages Firming Up

Last year, both AT&T and Verizon acknowledged that they were working on offering shared data plans, which would allow multiple devices owned by a single user or members of a family to draw data from a single monthly allotment. But while there has been evidence that Verizon is making progress on its plans, AT&T has been relatively quiet about its efforts aside from acknowledging that billing and other issues were complicating the work.

CNET now reports, however, that AT&T may be close to launching its shared data plans. The news comes from AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega, who indicates that the carrier knows what it intends to offer to its customers.
"I'm very comfortable with the plan that will be offered to our customers," de la Vega said on the sidelines of his company's home security and automation event at the CTIA Wireless trade show. [...]

He said the company knows how the plan would be structured. He, however, declined to provide any specific details on timing, and wouldn't comment on whether it would be out in the next few months or if AT&T would beat Verizon Wireless to the punch.
Shared "family plans" for voice minutes have been available for quite some time, and a similar mechanism for sharing data seems to be a natural evolution. But aside from sharing data among family members, even individuals could see a benefit from the plans, which would allow them to subscribe to a single monthly data allotment that could be used with their iPhone, iPad, and perhaps even a USB modem or mobile hotspot device.

Top Rated Comments

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76 months ago

I'll make this simple for everyone:

The pricing will offer less data for more money than 2 a la carte plans. But it will be cheaper than signing up for 4 separate data plans.
The 3 device sweet spot will be just a little more money than you are paying now.

Mostly you will be irritated by the fact that there isn't a plan that will save you any money.

(Yes this is a prediction, I do not have the *actual* pricing)
Rating: 16 Votes
76 months ago
All they have to do is flip a switch. They're just mulling over how much more money they can squeeze out of customers.
Rating: 13 Votes
76 months ago
If he is "comfortable" then that is not good news for us.
Rating: 12 Votes
76 months ago
I have a feeling that these shared data plans will be so expensive that it will not be worth it. "AT&T's new shared data plan! Just $60 for 3GB and use it on your iPhone and iPad!"
Rating: 10 Votes
76 months ago
Watch. Just watch. AT&T and Verizon will announce shared data plans within a week of each other. They could have done this long ago, but play off each other lock step as if there were "competition."
I wait to see how the math works out, but I would be shocked if a family will save more than $5-$10 for the privilege of 'sharing" data.
Rating: 9 Votes
76 months ago
And text messages will still be extra. A complete joke.

Yes, I know about iMessage and 3rd party apps, but a lot of friends don't have smartphones.
Rating: 9 Votes
76 months ago
While part of me looks forward to shared data plan, I know this (as is everything they do) will still be dishonest on AT&T's part.

- AT&T *requires* data plans, even if you don't want them.
- AT&T *requires* data plans, even if you use 0KB a month.
- AT&T suddenly "does us a favor" by allowing us to spend more to "share" a data plan. Uh, thanks?

I bet you a dollar that it will still cost me more than the $30 I spend now, and I'll lose my unlimited plan.

How about just letting everyone on my family plan use the phone we want, without charging us for data plans we don't need?
Or how about not charging INSANE amounts of money for data plans in the first place? $10 per 1GB is fair. NOT "$10 per 1GB after you spend $30 first."

AT&T makes BILLIONS in PROFIT every quarter. They charge dollars for what costs them pennies. They have no reason to. They can charge a LOT less and still make money.
Rating: 8 Votes
76 months ago
I would most likely give up my unlimited data plan if a shared plan came out (well of course at the right price)
Rating: 7 Votes
76 months ago

Same! It could potentially cut ~$60 in data costs down to half, give or take, which would be awesome.

Do you think AT&T will actually let you save that much, AND give you such a large phone subsidy?? They just increased their "upgrade" fee to $36. There will be a financial tradeoff one way or the other.
Rating: 7 Votes
76 months ago
Free nights and weekends for data would be better.
Rating: 5 Votes

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