AT&T has just made good on their promise to move to usage based pricing for data usage. We have come full circle since carriers used to charge by the megabyte, then went unlimited, and now are going back to charging by the megabyte. I may not like the idea but it seems that is the way the market is going and AT&T is being pretty competitive in terms of pricing.
AT&T’s new announced plans come in at $15/month for 200MB on a DataPlus plan and $25/month for 2GB on a DataPro plan. Both plans start on June 7th and overages for DataPlus are $15 per additional 200MB and $10 for each additional gigabyte on DataPro. They will also throw in tethering for an additional $20 a month and unlimited messaging for a ridiculous $20 a month. AT&T claims that 65% of their users currently use less than 200MB and 98% use less than 2GB.
RIM let us know that they are welcoming this new change since they say it will translate into savings for BlackBerry users. I have not yet seen anything here that says if BlackBerry users will also be able to use these new plans since traditionally AT&T charged $29.99 for personal BlackBerry plans and $44.99 for Enterprise BES compatible plans unlike the regular smartphone plans that were $20-$30.
I am a heavy BlackBerry user and I don’t even come close to 500MB a month even on high months. RIM claims that BlackBerry users on average use about 54MB of compressed/optimized bandwidth which could mean that many BlackBerry AT&T users will be able to cut their plans in half! For me that would cut my bill from $44.99 a month to $25 a month!
Jim Balsillie, RIM’s Co-CEO had the following to say about AT&T’s change:
“AT&T’s strategic pricing move is great news for BlackBerry smartphone customers,” said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO, Research In Motion. “We envision a day when all mobile phones are smartphones and we believe AT&T’s new service plans, together with RIM’s leading portfolio of BlackBerry products and services, will help attract a much broader range of consumers.”
So anybody else excited about these new plans? I just hope AT&T does not have any hidden gotchas that don’t let BES users take advantage of these new plans.