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Mobile Tech

AT&T Intros Shared Data Plans for Big Users -- Up to $500

AT&T Intros Shared Data Plans for Big Users -- Up to $500
March 19, 2013 10:43AM

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Although AT&T is positioning the new plans in a business context, the wireless carrier said they are also suitable for consumers who need more data. The new 30 GB, 40 GB and 50 GB Mobile Share plans respectively cost $300, $400 and $500 per month, with unlimited voice and messaging included. Additional data usage is billed at $15 per gigabyte.

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Wait, what? Five-hundred dollars for a data plan? That's right, AT&T says it wants to help wireless subscribers "raise the productivity bar" with more data plans to choose from -- and some of them come with a hefty price tag.

This week AT&T is rolling out larger Mobile Share plans, new Mobile Share -- Data (only) plans, and new Business Pooled Nation for Data plans. The new plans aim at consumers and business users who consume large volumes of data.

Joe Lueckenhoff, senior vice president of Business Product Management at AT&T, said business customers can now choose the best data option for their needs, "whether it's a large business wanting to better connect with employees, or a small-business owner needing a data-only plan."

Catering to Consumers

Although AT&T is positioning the new plans in a business context, the wireless carrier said they are also suitable for consumers who need more data. The new 30 GB, 40 GB and 50 GB Mobile Share plans respectively cost $300, $400 and $500 per month, with unlimited voice and messaging included. Additional data usage is billed at $15 per gigabyte.

Under the Mobile Share plans, customers choose the amount of data they want each month, then select the devices to be included in the plan. At least one device must be a smartphone. Each plan includes unlimited domestic talk and texts for smartphones and quick messaging phones, and each plan includes tethering.

"If you are a heavy user, those higher-end options might be useful," said Weston Henderek, a principal analyst at Current Analysis. "They kind of had to add those because Verizon now has some higher data options."

Removing Restrictions

Mobile Share -- Data plans, meanwhile, offer just data in shared buckets ranging from 4 GB to 50 GB and prices ranging from $30 to $335 per month. Mobile Share -- Data plans are only available for tablets, laptops and other connected devices.

"Before if you wanted the mobile share plan that allows you to share data, you had to have at least one smartphone on your account that came with unlimited voice and messaging," Henderek told us. "That was restrictive because what if you just want the data component and don't have a need for the calling and messaging?"

Verizon already offers a data-only Share Everything option. Henderek said the new AT&T Mobile Share -- Data plans essentially match what Verizon offers to a T. The only downside to these types of plans, he said, is that the carrier could potentially lose out on some sales from people who would have purchased a device.

Big Business

Finally, businesses that need data sharing for more than 25 devices can choose from new AT&T Business Pooled Nation for Data plans, with buckets ranging from 300 MB to 10 GB and monthly prices from $20 to $80 for eligible devices.

"You get a certain amount of data per line and then you can share that data for all the people on the account," Henderek said. "So it's sort of the same concept but it removes the artificial restrictions to where you can only add a certain number of devices on the account."

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