Why AT&T Really, Really Wants You on a Family Plan

(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Brian Barrett, WIRED


( — AT&T has adjusted its data plans yet again. This time, the available options seem structured to push customers towards a big-bucket family plan. Sorry, lonelyhearts!

Here’s how the new plans break down. You can either pay $20 per month for 300MB of data (note: this is not enough data), $30 for 2GB, $50 for 5GB, $100 for 15GB, or $140 for 20GB. Up through the 5GB tier, you’ll pay an extra $25 per line; the 15GB and 20GB levels tag on a $15 per line charge.

That’s a lot of numbers to digest, but you really only need to zero in on a couple of them. First is that 2GB plan, which condenses AT&T’s previous 1GB and 3GB offerings into a bucket that will be a much tighter squeeze for most people. According to the most recent numbers available from analytics firm Mobidia, the average U.S. LTE subscriber chewed through 1.8GB of cellular data every month last summer. Even assuming that number hasn’t continued to creep upward over the last 12 months—a generous assumption to make, given video’s rapid gains on mobile—a 2GB cap makes a tight squeeze. Despite the $20 price bump, 5GB will be a much safer bet for a huge chunk of AT&T customers, even if much of that data ends up going unused.




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