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Thursday
Jan192012

AT&T Raising Prices of Wireless Data Plans

David McNew/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Data hogs who are considering purchasing a smartphone or tablet with an AT&T plan may want to act quickly, or find the nearest wireless spots. AT&T is raising the prices of its wireless data plans and changing the data limits for new customers starting Sunday. The changes could add up to an extra $60 a year.

AT&T announced that new smartphone customers would have a choice of three new monthly data plans: $20 for 300 megabytes, or  $30 for 3 gigabytes. For $50, smartphone customers get 5 GB of data for tethering, or for sharing the Internet connection of another mobile device.

While the company described the new plans as a “great value,” Mike Gikas, Consumer Reports’ electronics senior editor, said, “giving you more data that you’re probably not going to use and charging you more is just a price hike.”

New smartphone customers who want additional data will have to pay $10 per additional gigabyte on the 3 GB and 5 GB plans. New customers with the 300 MB plan can get an extra 300 MB for $20.

Because data usage over Wi-Fi does not count against a customer’s monthly data usage, AT&T said it encouraged customers to keep their device’s Wi-Fi turned on. However, smartphone users who enable Wi-Fi on their phone may burn through battery power.

Existing smartphone and tablet customers can choose to keep their current plans, which are $15 for 200 MB, $25 for 2GB and $45 for 4 GB, and also include tethering, according to Consumer Reports. Under the old $25 plan, AT&T charged an overage fee of $10 per GB, so the new $30 plan could save data hogs $5 per month, according to Time.

The new tablet plans are $30 for 3 GB and $50 for 5 GB.

In July, competitor Verizon Wireless eliminated unlimited data plans for new smartphone customers and introduced plans of $30 for 2 GB, $50 for 5 GB or $80 for 10 gigabytes of monthly data usage. Verizon customers are charged $10 more for each additional GB.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio