As you may have heard by now, AT&T has announced major changes to its data plans starting June 7. If you are an existing customer, you may retain the unlimited data plan without the option to tether. Alternately, users who consume very little data may opt for a DataPlus plan at $15 monthly.
More heavy internet users can opt for the DataPro plan that offers 2GB of data at $25 per month. Tethering comes at an additional cost of $20 per month but only to customers who have opted for the DataPro plan.
If you feel overwhelmed by the data plan choices, it is a good idea to look into your past usage history before making a decision on the ideal data plan. There are two ways to learn about your data usage. The first option is by using AT&T’s *Services functionality. To use this option, users may dial *DATA# (*3282#) on their iPhone and press the Send key. This option will provide information on the data usage for the current period.
Alternately, users can also view their data usage from the ‘My Current Usage‘ tab on the ‘myWireless Account‘ page of AT&T’s website. This page shall offer users an estimate of their data consumption. Users may further click on the ‘View Past Data Usage‘ link to learn more about their data consumption pattern for a six month period. Do note that the information presented in this link is only an estimate. Also, the details may not be up-to-date as AT&T notes that there may be a delay of up to five business days due to technical reasons.
The tabulated information should help users make an educated decision with respect to choosing a data plan option. While users consuming very little data should have no problem deciding on a plan, the situation may still be tricky to a significant number of iPhone users whose average data consumption falls marginally above 200MB. This is because AT&T charges DataPlus subscribers an additional $15 for every 200MB of data consumed.
This would effectively mean that DataPlus customers consuming around 300MB of data per month may end up paying $30 while DataPro customers have to pay only $25 for 2GB of data. So if you observe that you frequently overshoot the 200MB data consumption limit, it would make sense to opt for a DataPro plan.
If you are AT&T’s existing iPhone customer and consistently consume more than 2GB data then you are better off sticking with the unlimited data plans but you won’t have the option to add iPhone tethering.
It is also important to note that you should expect data consumption to go up in the future with the release of Apple’s next generation iPhone OS – iPhone OS 4.0 as it brings features like multitasking feature, which will allow you to run Radio iPhone apps like Pandora in the background.
How much 3G data do you use? Are you planning to stick with the unlimited data plan?