(UPDATED) AT&T is replacing its $29.99 per moth unlimited data plan, popular with iPhone and iPad users, with $15 (200MB) and $25 (2G) plans. While a reported 95% of mobile users do not currently exceed the 2G limit, increased use of new video and music in the cloud applications could lead to additional charges.
Unlimited mobile data has long been considered an unsustainable model by some analysts, and it is believed that other cell services will also set limits. That's not good news for a growing list of companies delivering data heavy music services like downloads and video or music streaming to smartphones.
Perhaps the best hope for many of these music tech startups is the expansion of offline playlist caching already available with Spotify, Slacker and the new Rdio service announced today. When a few thousand favorite songs can be stored and updated on a users smarthphone, the need for a constant and increasingly expensive connection becomes less critical
Details Of New AT&T Data Plans:
- DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 150 emails with attachments, plus view 400 Web pages, plus post 50 photos on social media sites, plus watch 20 minutes of streaming video – for just $15 per month.** This plan, which can save customers up to 50 percent off their wireless data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the cycle. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, plus view 4,000 Web pages, plus post 500 photos to social media sites, plus watch 200 minutes of streaming video – for $25 per month.** Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle. Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.
Tethering. Smartphone customers – including iPhone customers – who choose the DataPro plan have the option to add tethering for an additional $20 per month. Tethering lets customers use their tethering-enabled smartphones as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks or other computing devices. Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases iPhone OS 4 this summer.