AT&T has finally caught up with its rival providers and begun offering unlimited-data plans to customers who do not also have a paid-TV service like DirecTV or U-Verse. The new plan was announced earlier in February and will offer unlimited text, talk and data on four lines for $180 a month (the same price point as Verizon’s plan) with no television service required. This move is the latest in many by wireless carriers working to address customer concerns surrounding unexpected data-usage fees.
While AT&T’s new plan comes in at the same price point as Verizon for four lines. However, their single line fee of $100 is significantly more than their competitors. Each additional line from AT&T will run you another $40 with the fourth line getting added for free after a rebate. For AT&T customers with a large family and multiple lines, this could be the perfect plan. For those consumers who only need a line for themselves, Verizon is still the most affordable option.
AT&T has offered unlimited data plans before; the last time was back in 2010. In fact, those plans have passed into a state of AT&T lore with many customers still clinging to them for going on seven years now. While these customers will see their fees go up $5 in March, they will still be paying $15 less than what a single line would cost under the new unlimited plan.
AT&T’s new unlimited-data plan will support HD videos, text and calling but, unlike other major carriers, it will not allow their customers to turn their phones into mobile hotspots. The plan also sports a few new features including one called “Roam North America” which allows users to use their phones normally in Mexico and Canada as well as the United States. AT&T also offers a “Stream Saver” feature that reduces video quality to 480p when using mobile data.
The new plan will also follow in step with Verizon and slow down data-speeds in congested areas for users who have already gone through 22GB of data during a given month.
Unlimited-data plans have become the new standard for mobile carriers. The 2017 resurgence began with Verizon updating their unlimited plan, which was quickly followed by updated plans from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. While many of the unlimited-plan features are the same from carrier to carrier, there are important enough differences, like hotspot support, that could make a difference in retention rates down the line. Time will tell.