Entries in Data Plans (7)


T-Mobile to Offer Unlimited 4G Data for Phones Starting Sept. 5

T-Mobile(NEW YORK) -- While AT&T and Verizon move to shared data plans, which allow users to share a bucket of data across multiple devices, T-Mobile has a different approach.

On Wednesday, the U.S. carrier announced that it will begin offering unlimited 4G data plans for smartphones starting on Sept. 5.  The plan will cost $20 a month when added to one of T-Mobile’s value voice and text plans, and $30 when added to a classic voice and texting plan.  T-Mobile will offer an unlimited calling and text plan with the unlimited data for $69.99.

T-Mobile’s unlimited data plan offers unlimited Web surfing and app usage over T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network.  There are no data caps or speed limits.  The plan is only for smartphones, not tablets, laptops, 4G connection cards or mobile hotspots.

In comparison, AT&T’s plans start at $40 a month for just 1GB of data to share across 10 devices and unlimited voice and texting -- and every additional phone you add to the plan costs $45 a month.  AT&T’s highest offering, which includes a cap of 20GB of data, costs $200 a month with unlimited texting and calls.

Since introducing its respective data share plans in July, AT&T and Verizon do not offer unlimited data for new customers.  Sprint offers unlimited 4G, texting and talk for a base of $100.

“AT&T and Verizon are in the costly and confusing camp and Sprint’s offering is limited since their 4G coverage is limited,” T-Mobile’s vice president of marketing, Kevin McLaughlin, told ABC News.

Sprint began offering a limited LTE network this summer in Baltimore and other cities. T-Mobile’s 4G network is not LTE, though it covers much of the country.

T-Mobile plans to roll out its LTE network in 2013, though it notes that its HSPA+ network is faster than even some LTE networks in parts of the country.

T-Mobile has taken a hit in the last couple of years in large part because of the fact that it doesn’t offer the iPhone. The carrier is hopeful that this plan will help pull customers from other networks, even if it doesn’t have Apple’s popular phone.

“We are trying to serve the customers and there is a lot of need in the market with Verizon and AT&T’s new plans,” McLaughlin said. “They are frustrated with the fact that they cannot get unlimited data.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


AT&T Follows Verizon, Launches Shared Data Plans

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The nation's two largest carriers are shaking up their data plans to help keep up in a world where more people and their families now own multiple smartphones and tablets.

On the heels of Verizon's announcement in late June of its "Share Everything" data plans, which lets customers share a bucket of data across phones and tablets, AT&T has announced today its very own "Mobile Share" plans.

The new offerings, which will be available in late August, will let new and existing AT&T customers buy a single "bucket" of 3G or 4G data, which they can use for web surfing, email, apps, etc., on any device included. The plans will also include unlimited voice minutes and text messages. Before this, customers had to buy specific data plans for each device.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Verizon Data Plans Coming, Likely to Kill Unlimited Data Plans

Verizon Wireless(NEW YORK) -- While Verizon Wireless used to offer unlimited data plans for its customers, it stopped offering all-you-can-eat data plans last July for new customers. However, those that had been grandfathered in under an unlimited data plan have still been able to pay $30 a month for an unlimited data plan for 3G and 4G phones.

But that looks as if it might come to an end this summer, when Verizon announces new “data share” plans. “LTE is our anchor point for data share, so as you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data share plan, moving away from the unlimited world,” Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said at the J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference. Fierce Wireless first reported the story.

Verizon hasn’t shared much about its upcoming data share plans, but they will work similarly to the way you can share minutes now. “Customers have told us that they want to share data, similar to how they share minutes today. We are working on plans to provide customers with that option later this year,” Verizon said in a statement on its website.

“When you think about our 3G base — a lot of our 3G base is unlimited — as they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan, and that’s beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously,” Shammo added.

Despite Shammo’s statements, Verizon PR would not confirm that those who currently have unlimited data would be forced onto another plan at the time of upgrade. Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney did say, "We do not change customers plans under contract.” Raney did not elaborate on what might happen to customers when their two-year contract expired and it is time to renew and upgrade to a new phone.

Most carriers have moved away from unlimited data plans. AT&T similarly does not offer an unlimited plan anymore. Sprint, on the other hand, does offer the plan and has hinted that it will continue to keep the unlimited data plan around even when it launches its LTE network later this year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


AT&T Seeks Quiet Settlement in Data Limiting Case

David McNew/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It's an unlimited buffet; just don't take more than one plate.

That's what a Simi, Calif., man who sued his iPhone carrier AT&T says is the situation he faces as a heavy user of wireless data services.

Matthew Spaccarelli took the company to small claims court in California in January, alleging that the company had slowed his data capacity while he continued to pay for the unlimited data plan. AT&T slows or "throttles" their data capacity for top data users in some geographic regions.

Following the court judgment on March 2, which awarded him $850, Spaccarelli received a letter from AT&T scolding him for tethering his iPhone to another device and offering a settlement to resolve their dispute, so long as Spaccarelli was willing to keep quiet about it.

Spaccarelli has been very public and vocal about the lawsuit with AT&T and has encouraged others to sue the company as well. He set up a website,, where he posted all of his court documents and advice to help others who might want to pursue their own lawsuits against AT&T. And then he worked with the website PublikDemand, which allows consumers to band together to complain about a company's policies, to set up a page about his lawsuit there. Spaccarelli's how-to guide for suing AT&T is now posted on that website, too.

"AT&T customers using as little as 1.5 gigabytes per month have been subject to throttling—creating painfully slow access to Web browsing and causing video streaming to not work at all," Spaccarelli wrote on PublikDemand. "It's not fair for AT&T to make a promise of 'unlimited' data to customers when they buy the phone while burying terms in their contracts that give the company the right to cut down data speeds and charge additional fees for increased usage."

Spaccarelli said he was not interested in a settlement.

"You settle before court," Spaccarelli said. "They sent a letter that has all this talk about settlement, but I had no interest. I just want to know, what is your next step, are you going to file an appeal, can they give me a head's up?"

Spaccarelli said he expects AT&T to file an appeal, which would allow the case to be heard in front of a judge with attorneys present.

"I'm just a dumb trucker, and there are going to be all these attorneys and I just got a personal injury attorney. But I think I could go up against any of them, because it makes sense to me and it made sense to one judge already," Spaccarelli said.

AT&T, however, told ABC News that Spaccarelli initiated the discussion and the company politely responded.

"Mr. Spaccarelli reached out to us to initiate a discussion, and naturally, we responded to him to hear what was on his mind and discuss his data usage," AT&T spokesman Mark Spiegel wrote in an email to ABC News. "We typically enter into non-disclosure agreements when people want to discuss the settlement of pending disputes."

The company also threatened to end his phone service if Spaccarelli did not agree to the settlement discussions. Spaccarelli admitted to violating an AT&T user agreement when he tethered his iPhone with other devices.

"Mr. Spaccarelli has said he tethers a second device to his smartphone, which is something that our unlimited data plans don't allow. For customers who tether, we have plans that allow them to do just that," Spiegel said.

"It really is as simple as this," Spaccarelli said. "Number one: lacking any controls. And number two: boundless or infinite. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition of ‘unlimited.’ It's been around for so long I don't know why they don't know what it means. That really says it all," Spaccarelli said.

Both AT&T and Verizon, two major mobile carriers, implement throttling on heavy-data users. The policy slows down the amount of data users' phones can access at one time. AT&T has said recently that said "unlimited" users who exceeded 3GB per month would be throttled because they are in the top 5 percent of data users in our network, according to PC Mag.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


AT&T to Cap Smartphone Data Usage

David McNew/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- AT&T says it will no longer offer unlimited data usage to wireless customers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The no. 2 wireless carrier will soon put limits on the amount of data customers can use on a plan.  Any data consumption over three gigabytes a month will result in a significant reduction in Internet download speeds and possibly additional fees for video, apps and music downloaded over the wireless network, AT&T says.

According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T's new cap on data usage will mean the differences separating the company's $30 unlimited plan (which enforces a usage cap at three gigabytes) and its $30 tiered plan (which charges more for data used over three gigabytes) will blur. WSJ reports the wireless carrier will apply the new limits to each device on unlimited family plans as well.

AT&T says one reason for introducing data usage caps stems from its need to better manage its network and improve service for users.  It also recently sent letters to wireless subscribers who still use the carrier's older, 2G network, asking them to trade their devices up to 3G models, WSJ reports.

Worried about exceeding your data limit?  Here are some tips The Wall Street Journal suggests to conserve your data:

  • Use Wi-Fi as much as possible -- at home, hotels and other places offering wireless internet service.
  • Download Internet content onto your device directly from a computer.
  • Opt for lower resolution when downloading video content.
  • Use smartphone apps like My Data Manager for Android or iPhone to help you track your data usage.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Verizon: Biggest Users of Mobile Data Will Pay More

Verizon Wireless(NEW YORK) -- Say goodbye to "all you can eat" pricing plans that let mobile device users send and receive unlimited amounts of data for one flat monthly fee.

Verizon, among the last providers to offer such a plan, will start charging by use later this month. Use a lot of data, and you'll pay more; use a little, and you'll pay less.

The company says in a statement that its new, usage-based pricing will allow customers, regardless of the kind of device they have, to select a level of payment suited to their data use.  The company says the new pricing will create more options for users of smartphones, and will provide "updated options" for users of regular phones, tablets, and notebooks.

Verizon spokesperson Debi Lewis says the philosophy behind the change is simple: "You pay for what you use."

When asked when the change will occur, she replied, "Shortly, in July."  July 7 has been widely reported as the date.

Craig Moffett, a telecommunications analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein research, thinks consumption-based pricing is fundamentally fairer for the consumer.  Heavy users, he says -- people watching videos, playing online games or holding video conferences -- send and receive data that is "orders of magnitude" greater than data sent by people who limit themselves, say, to sending email.

Without consumption-based pricing, light users wind up subsidizing heavy users.

The industry's move away from flat-fee pricing started, says Moffett, with AT&T's struggle to deliver better service to users of the iPhone, which "by its very nature, its sheer usability, drove enormous data usage."  AT&T was forced, he says, to do everything it could to increase capacity, including adopting a pricing plan that would "reign in the heaviest users."

Is the switch good news for consumers?

"It depends," says Moffett.  "If you're in the small minority of superheavy users -- and that's a very vocal community: the bloggers of the world -- it's bad news.  It means the days of you getting a free ride are just about over, and that you'll be paying more.  But for smaller users -- the average consumer -- it's not bad at all.  Some will save."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Verizon to Offer iPhone Unlimited Data Plan for Limited Time

Photo Courtesy - Verizon Wireless(NEW YORK) -- Verizon announced it will offer its $30 a month unlimited data plan for the iPhone, for a limited time only.

The cell phone carrier says it will eventually move to a usage-based billing model.

AT&T, the former exclusive carrier of the iPhone, discontinued its unlimited data plan last summer.

On Jan. 11, Verizon announced it will begin selling Apple's iPhone 4 on Feb. 10, breaking the exclusive hold AT&T has had on the device since its June 2007 launch.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio