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AT&T Introducing Verizon-Style Shared Data Plans

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the get-less-pay-more dept.

AT&T 307

zacharye writes with news of some exciting rate changes for folks on ATTWS. From the article: "AT&T on Wednesday announced the upcoming availability of new shared data plans. Following Verizon's lead, AT&T's new plans will allow subscribers to share data between family members and also between devices. Dubbed 'AT&T Mobile Share' plans, the new offerings start at $40 per month plus $45 per device for unlimited voice minutes and messaging and 1GB of data, and top out at $200 plus $30 per device for unlimited voice and texts plus 200GB of data..." My favorite part is where you pay per-device and get nothing in return.

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307 comments

Oh noes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685171)

This just in: usage of Apple devices leads to dangerously high emissions of smug. Please do the world a favor and stop using Apple devices before we drown in smug!

Oy (5, Interesting)

Daddy-Oh (306170) | about 2 years ago | (#40685189)

I had high hopes that Verizon's shared data would be the right thing for my family plan. None of need 2GB of data a month - we could easily share that. But, the new plan actually costs significantly more.

And, the unlimited voice has no value to me - we never reach our limit on the shared smallest family plan now.

Angry (er).

Re:Oy (5, Insightful)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#40685219)

None of need 2GB of data a month - we could easily share that. But, the new plan actually costs significantly more.

Because you were naive enough to think these plans were to save you money rather than make the telecoms more money?

Re:Oy (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#40685843)

But this is supposed to get cheaper over time. Sure, let them enable more phones for data, but the price per phone needs to go down.

Re:Oy (1)

jimmyfrank (1106681) | about 2 years ago | (#40685867)

My plan got a little cheaper when I switched to shared.

Re:Oy (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685311)

I am in a similar boat, but worse as I easily exceed 2GB and the other phone comes close. We are both on unlimited data plans, have the no longer available 250txt plan and 500 minutes which we never go over.

I will be dropping Verizon the second they make me switch. I will not pay full price for a phone without a discount on the plan, so that stupid idea is a no go for me.

Re:Oy (2)

PNutts (199112) | about 2 years ago | (#40685703)

In some cases the full price for a phone without a contract is cheaper.

Re:Oy (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685733)

I am sorry, I was not clear. You are correct a full price phone on a prepaid plan is often cheaper.

I was referring to Verizon's "helpful" advice to unlimited customers that if they pay full price they would be allowed to keep their old plans.

Re:Oy (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#40685701)

But, the new plan actually costs significantly more.

That's the idea.

Internally, AT&T executives refer to it as the "Blood from a Stone Plan".

The country's largest ISPs believe that you have too much money and that they deserve what you have worked for. It's what I called "Privatized Class Warfare" and is another of the hallmarks of late-stage capitalism. This phenomenon can be identified when a company decides they are going to charge you significantly more while giving you much less. Another identifying characteristic is that the two or three companies in the respective sector all do it at approximately the same time so they don't have to worry about that inconvenient "competition" that is so destructive to terminal-stage capitalism.

Countdown to AT&T and Verizon merger starts....now.

Re:Oy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685755)

"hallmarks of late-stage capitalism"

You have no idea what the term capitalism means.

Re:Oy (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#40685957)

You have no idea what the term capitalism means.

Sure I do. It means you make money by having money, and that having money is worth more than working.

This is why investors pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes than workers. The idea being a pile of money is worth more than the labor of the people who are actually making stuff.

When you actually look at if for a while, you start to see how it's not sustainable and how it will inevitably end with a very few really rich guys and everybody else with very little money or power.

As Merriam Webster puts it,

an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

The main problem being that there is no such thing as a free market. Remember, the people who came up with the idea of capitalism also believed in perpetual motion machines and transmuting lead into gold via purification.

Re:Oy (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about 2 years ago | (#40685717)

Interestingly, Verizon's new plans saved me about $20 a month over three phones.

Re:Oy (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40685765)

It seems none of these companies knows what people really wants.

1. Reasonable Rates. Data plan should be an extra $20 a month unlimited... Or at a rate where we can use our phones without worry about hitting the peak. Unless we are crazy and do a lot of big downloads, say 8 hours of streaming video a day.

2. Family plans that give us value. The more people the better the value. So for an extra phone $10 per month added.

After paying hundreds of dollars for a phone. A family of 4 shouldn't expect to pay more then $100 a month for phone service.

Re:Oy (3, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | about 2 years ago | (#40685881)

No, they know what we want. They just don't care. They figure if you can afford a smartphone, you can afford damn near whatever they want to charge you.
$40 a month plus $45 a device for 1gb? That's a deal so bad it needs to come with a complimentary tube of KY jelly, yet people are going to pay it, because there are no alternatives (or the alternatives suck).

1gb. seriously 1gb? What is this, 1995? I go through about 200mb a day of wireless data usage, and that's being careful where I visit, using noscript and adblock to keep data usage to a minimum, and generally restraining myself. if I wasn't paying attention, I could do 1gb in less than a half an hour at 4g speeds.

obligatory slashdot analogy:
telco - "Ok, here is your 200mph 4G car. it's going to cost you a damn pretty penny, but you've got it!"
me - "sweet!"
* vroomm 50mph, vrooooommmm 100mph, vrooooooomm 200mph! screeeeeeeeeaaaachhhhalt.*
me - "what the hell? It only worked for 30 minutes, now it doesn't work anymore"
telco - "oh, didn't we tell you? you can only drive at 200mph for 30 minutes a month unless you want to pay us again. pretty much the same ammount. for another 30 minutes."
me - "why would you advertise that your network is that fast if I'm not allowed to go that fast for anything more than a few minutes?"
telco - "you're new here, aren't you? just turn around and bend over."

Re:Oy (2)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#40685949)

we're in a near monopoly of only 3 major carriers - and every "minor" carrier is owned by the majors or runs along their networks.

We lack so much competition it's a lie to simply act like it makes a difference at the moment. They need to be regulated into common carrier status instead of abusing it.

To act like rates are going to fix this is to not pay attention to what is causing the rates: the greed/taking advantage of the situation.

Sad, but we let them do this. (4, Interesting)

Tufriast (824996) | about 2 years ago | (#40685203)

AT&T was shitty before this point, but now they are no longer even TRYING to mask the fuckening. What's worse is that they have court backing. You can thank all of the "conservative" leaning judges who side with businesses from a legal angle that made this happen. I'd like to point out that left leaning judges are also a bad thing in the long haul. Hell, judges should lean neither way. In any event, a special thanks to the American people for getting us raped and smiling while doing it.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685239)

But I need my iFag devices! I CAN'T FUCKING LIVE WITHOUT MY IFAG DEVICES!

Sent from my iFag device while sucking my boyfriend's dick

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (5, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40685263)

so go prepaid. you can get "unlimited" data for $30 a month if you're willing to buy your own phone. and with the iphone about to have its 6th generation released there isn't much different every year so it's not like you have to run out and buy a new phone every year to keep up with specs

most games will play on 2-3 year old phones
email, evernote and facebook don't need dual core
in fact 99% of what the phone does is OK on a single core. i could play MP3's 15 years ago on mobile CPU's so it's not like you need multiple cores to read email and listen to music.

don't listen to the idiots at anandtech who keep dreaming that you need the latest and greatest to do simple things and you will have money. these were the same idiots who were telling people 10 years ago that you needed a $300 graphics card just to run the Windows GUI "fast"

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685329)

I am going prepaid once my contract ends. I am not taking your advice about sticking to outdated devices though. It will be new Nexus for me.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (2)

CTU (1844100) | about 2 years ago | (#40685513)

You do know the comment about 'outdated devices' only meant you don't need to buy a new phone every year or two just because there is something new out. You can get that nexus and as long as it don't break, will give you years of use and not need to be tossed out because something slightly better comes out in a few months.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685585)

I have a Galaxy Nexus now and a D1 before that.
I will get the next nexus as well, in a little more than a year. I much rather sell my used phones or give them away then stick with outdated devices.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685869)

ahhh... marketing working at it's finest. I'm willing to bet there will be no difference in what you are able to do with the latest and greatest phone. It will look a little flashier because of the new plastic case, but that's about it. I need a new phone, but only because the one I have now is a piece of crap and Motorola could care less about updating it to make it more useful and less buggy.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685713)

Ah, my good ole blackberry 8820 was recently retired. It's been through hell and back (literally) and only needed minor repairs. Only upgraded it because when I got back from the field a friend gave me a newer one.

Both of them work for me, as I get 100's of emails per day on it. I haven't been in a contract with ATT since I was a GTE customer. My brick phone (Nokia) lasted almost 7 years and I only switched it because I needed to go digital. I think I've had 7 cell phones in my life.

My friend who gave me his old BB did so because he's always on the latest and greatest $700 phone because you know you can't live life without the most current.

I was thinking of buying an iPhone, but I'm just not that into actually getting into a contract and they aren't cheap enough on eBay yet, plus my phone still works.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (2, Informative)

orthancstone (665890) | about 2 years ago | (#40685441)

don't listen to the idiots at anandtech who keep dreaming that you need the latest and greatest to do simple things and you will have money. these were the same idiots who were telling people 10 years ago that you needed a $300 graphics card just to run the Windows GUI "fast"

You'll have to point me to this article on Anandtech that states everyone must go out and purchase the latest and greatest. Until you do so, I'm just going to presume the only idiot here is you for trashing a site that specializes in reviewing new equipment!

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40685493)

go read the forums. full of idiots who worry about their old parents who don't know anything getting LTE for no other reason than its new. my crappy out of date motorola droid pro from my employer on CDMA streams pandora and slacker just fine.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40685481)

so go prepaid. you can get "unlimited" data for $30 a month

Did you mean "you" or just "some people"? I was under the impression that "unlimited" plans required living in an area with HSPA+ or LTE coverage, which currently means only the largest cities, and that one needed a sufficiently large voice plan in order to qualify for such a data plan, which doesn't help people who only need occasional voice because they aren't using the phone as a land line replacement. What carrier are you talking about so that I can evaluate its offer?

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685579)

Yeah, your smug "scare quote laden" impressions are incorrect. Go look at StraightTalk, or the prepay plan from T-Mobile that has 100 minutes and unlimited SMS and data. Sure, it's TMo so you don't have 3G out in Centralia, PA. As Winston Wolfe said, "move out of the sticks, gentlemen!"

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (5, Funny)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 years ago | (#40685779)

Yeah, your smug "scare quote laden" impressions are incorrect. Go look at StraightTalk, or the prepay plan from T-Mobile that has 100 minutes and unlimited SMS and data. Sure, it's TMo so you don't have 3G out in Centralia, PA. As Winston Wolfe said, "move out of the sticks, gentlemen!"

So people wont move out of town because it has been on fire for 50 years [wikipedia.org] , but will move if it doesnt have 3G coverage. Sounds typical, and sounds like a lot of my efforts at SimCity.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40685657)

Virgin mobile is $30 a month for 300 minutes and unlimited data/texting. it's on crappy sprint but since i'm on wifi most of the day i wouldn't care. GPS? i just bought navigon for my iphone for $30, downloads the maps locally. you just need a GPS signal. no need to pay money to a good network like verizon just to download map tiles as you drive

i'm personally going straight talk which is $40-$45 a month for unlimited everything and is on AT&T so i can use my AT&T iphones without buying new phones. and since it's unlimited minutes i'm going to cancel my home phone as well which is on time warner cable

cricket is $55 a month but it subsidizes the iphone a little

LTE does very nothing for me so i don't care if my phone is on CDMA or HSPA+

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (1)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#40685273)

Love that word "fuckening". Sounds like "fuck" + the "reckoning" of the true nature of the current telecom market (among other markets): businesses who compete...to achieve the highest price.

Re:Sad, but we let them do this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685677)

Here we have another slash dot political troll. Conservative judges? Anyway to back up what yer saying? Jerk off idiot, yeah lets politicize every fucking post on this site, its fucking tiresome.

One thing I'll admit ATandT sucks worse than what slash dots becoming.

prepaid here i come (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40685217)

i have a 4 line family plan on AT&T with 2 of them out of contract or very close to being out of contract

a few months ago i assumed i would just add more devices to the plan and they would use the existing 4GB of data my wife and I have and half of which we don't use. my father in law wants an iphone but not the extra $25 a month. and i could have made my next ipad a LTE ipad.

except now i pay more for 1GB of data instead of the current 4GB I have and have to pay a lot for unlimited minutes and texts which are almost free for AT&T to carry

smart talk can't get here fast enough since my wife's iphone 4 contract expires next month

Re:prepaid here i come (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685313)

"my father in law wants an iphone but not the extra $25 a month."

That is the point, isn't it? People want iPhones and Androids, but many don't want to pay for them. The networks will extract as much money as they can and from the people who will pay. At the very least, they will stop subsidizing the phones for people like your father-in-law...

Let 'em stop subsidizing (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40685495)

At the very least, they will stop subsidizing the phones

Let 'em. When the customer is the end user and not the carrier, this makes both the manufacturers and the carriers more honest. The trouble is that until very recently, pay-as-you-go cost more per month than a contract.

Re:prepaid here i come (1)

darjen (879890) | about 2 years ago | (#40685563)

Prepaid is definitely the way to go. I got my wife a used iPhone 4 and put a gophone sim in it. I added $100 to her phone, and assuming she doesn't go overboard on minutes, the minutes will lst a whole year before they expire. I still hang on to my used droid 2 and put it on page plus for $12 a month, 250 voice 250 texts. I also have an lte iPad and that is on Verizon's $30 a month tablet plan. So I still get mobile data and only pay about half of what I was before I sold my galaxy nexus. The savings essentially pay for the entire cost of my iPad.

Smart Talk? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 years ago | (#40685583)

Did you mean Straight Talk?

Once my AT&T contract is over (maybe before - going to look into whether my ETF is prorated) I'm going to ST + unlocked phones (possibly the next Nexus now that Google is selling them on the Play Store.)

Through my employer, I get 25% off of my plan and 50% off of my accessories, however:
1) I still am spending $25/mo more on AT&T than I would on Straight Talk
2) AT&T's phone selection sucks, and their software update policies have been atrocious. Every official update for the Galaxy S II was a horrific bugfest compared to the software available for the international version - even though getting I9100 firmware fully working on the I777 required only a weekend of kernel hacking for one guy (me).
3) Because I am now using international unlocked devices, the 50% accesory discount is useless to me.

Unless I can bring an unlocked phone WITHOUT paying a contract subsidy penalty by the end of my contract, I'm gone. Fuck you, AT&T.

Re:prepaid here i come (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 2 years ago | (#40685807)

I hope you don't use a lot of data then. After your first 250MB of data on 3G speeds they slice your data speed way down to something not much better than dial up.

Re:prepaid here i come (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40685989)

most months i use less than 1GB. i'm on wifi almost everywhere. NYC is installing free wifi everywhere. why pay for mobile data?

for streaming music you can cache locally with spotify and slacker without the need to stream all the time

Republicans did it again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685225)

By giving big bailouts to their crony Mittens, they then make it legal to charge people for using data which should be free! What will they do next, start wars overseas to give their defense contractor buddies no-bid contracts?

Saves nothing, really. (2, Informative)

DWMorse (1816016) | about 2 years ago | (#40685235)

In my case, 4 friends and myself all have smartphones together on my plan. Since nobody really talks on their phones much (what is this, 1992?) we share a 700 minute plan, and have something like 4,500 rollover minutes. But we do use a good bit of data and billions of texts are sent every month. (3 women.)

So I did some quick calculation: $90 a month for the 6GB plan with all the unlimited texting and etc. 5 smartphones at $35 a piece, yielding monthly total of $265 before taxes. Right now, our bill is $280 after taxes. That's $56 a month per person. Not so bad. The new plans would put us at $53 per person. /shrug. So we gain unlimited talk time we don't use, save $3 per person a month. Not terribly motivating.

Re:Saves nothing, really. (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685355)

You think there will be less than $15 in taxes and "fees"?

I bet that $265 becomes $300 after all is said and done.

Re:Saves nothing, really. (1)

ILuvSP (625676) | about 2 years ago | (#40685617)

I think the real problem is that paying $56 to have a mobile phone is "Not so bad" to you.

Re:Saves nothing, really. (1)

DWMorse (1816016) | about 2 years ago | (#40685711)

Oh, ok. Go ahead and reveal to me the plan available in Minnesota wherein I can wield a smartphone, use 3GB of data on a 3G network, with unlimited texting for less than $56 a month. Let's get specific, and cite that my phone is an iPhone, and assume I prefer it to stay that way.

Re:Saves nothing, really. (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#40685945)

Oh, ok. Go ahead and reveal to me the plan available in Minnesota

You missed the point there - Not that you can get something cheaper, but that you see nothing wrong with a $300 phone bill.

Re:Saves nothing, really. (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 2 years ago | (#40685969)

You could use this on your same iPhone:
http://net10sim.com/ [net10sim.com]

$50/mo. and less taxes and fees on the plan.

Virgin Mobile would have been better, but wow - they have no coverage in MN.

Re:Saves nothing, really. (1)

Norwell Bob (982405) | about 2 years ago | (#40685987)

You're fortunate in that all of the members of your plan are paying their own way. I'm paying for myself, two kids, and a spouse... so I'm paying almost $200/mo for my plan, and I'm the only one with data! However, let's say I drop any one of those other lines... my bill is only going to go down by about $15. It's the core of the plan that costs all that money.

And AT&T's coverage is now terrible (it was better when it was Cingular), and I am constantly dropping calls. I will say, though, their customer support is generally very helpful.

T-Mobile (1)

zenyu (248067) | about 2 years ago | (#40685835)

The T-Mobile family plans are much more affordable if you bring your own phone.

Look at the 500 minute value plan. You can get 0GB, 200MB, 2GB, 5GB, or 10GB data on a per device basis, so you can get 2GB for someone who just does some web browsing, 5GB for those who listen to podcasts and does occsional tethering, and 10GB for those who do a lot of tethering. The 5GB and 10GB plans allow tethering without jumping through any hoops.

The coverage isn't as good as Verizon or AT&T, but it is pretty darn good in most major metropolitan areas.

PS T-Mobile does make it a bit difficult to find the best plans on their website and you really need to buy the phones on Amazon because their website is terrible and their store clerks are rip off artists. But their text chat representatives are great and their phone reps are nice even if not quite as knowledgable. The phone reps are the best route for plan changes since the customarily waive service change fees.

Re:Saves nothing, really. (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 2 years ago | (#40686003)

That's $56 a month per person.
Back in the day, we had to pay $20 a month for a family plan. In our case, that worked out to $5 a person. Of course, understandably there has been some inflation since then, but there has also been increases in technology which have outpaced inflation, so family plans probably ought to be down to $5 per family now.

AT&T bugs me (4, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | about 2 years ago | (#40685245)

Carriers incur no cost for tethering (and soon for Fcae Time over cell), because the data used still comes out of the amount paid for. Carriers incur no cost for messages, because they are part of the phone's sync to the tower, or in the case of iMessages, come out of the data plan. But AT&T charges (very high) fees for messages and tethering, and soon will for Face Time apparently, in addition to the data that they use being paid for. Thing is, I'd use far more text messages, and periodically use tethering, and periodically use Face Time over cell when it's available, and all of these would drive up my data usage and thus make AT&T money. But instead, I just don't use the features, which is slight inconvenience to me, but on net must be a heck of a hit to AT&T shareholders, because their company is leaving money on the table by continuing to insist on pricing services like it was the mid-1980s.

Re:AT&T bugs me (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 years ago | (#40685547)

Carriers incur no cost for messages, because they are part of the phone's sync to the tower,

I thought the same way until a previous Slashdot comment explained how this works in detail. While the text messages use the same packet format as the phone's sync to the tower, it still causes additional packets, and bigger packets. So the bandwidth is not free. It would be like sending an email by embedding it inside DNS requests. Yes, you need to make DNS requests anyway, but sending an email through them would not make the bandwidth free.

Ultimately, this does not change your point though, it is just a nitpick. Their policies are ridiculous. Charging for Face Time over cell networks is an awesome example of why we need network neutrality. (Sorry Ron Paul - I like you but you are wrong on this one!) If I were Verizon, I would have my marketing department jump all over this one. I can use my bandwidth for whatever I want on my Verizon + Android combo.

Re:AT&T bugs me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685819)

Wholesale bandwidth is at most $0.12 per Gigabyte (EC2 [amazon.com] - highest price $0.12/GB). Maybe it's just that Verizon's math skills [blogspot.com] aren't up to snuff.

It should cost no more than $10/month since even at 10Mbit you're not going to use 100GB/month on a phone. Actual 3G connection speeds are usually sub 1Mbit. Managing a network like this is pretty simple, all towers should be using 100% capacity and if the average download speed drops below 512kbit, new cells should be installed.

Re:AT&T bugs me (1)

Widowwolf (779548) | about 2 years ago | (#40685967)

You do realize they still have to pay for that thing that syncs to your phone. You know the tower and its upkeep, and the lease for the land the tower is on, electricity to run the tower, and all the network to run to that tower, and permits, and taxes on that tower...Its not just the cost of the bandwidth...Why do people not get this...To put up a tower in New York City alone can cost upwards of several million due to the leasing rights to someones Roof of a building. ATT just installed a new tower on a building they own in Sacramento, and it was still over $300 thousand to put it up

Oversold (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40685597)

Carriers incur no cost for tethering

The explanation I've always been told is that mobile data networks' capacity is oversold, and carriers rely on customers to underuse their allotment. Customers who tether are more likely to use their full allotment.

Carriers incur no cost for messages, because they are part of the phone's sync to the tower

It costs more than zero to route the messages through the back-end network.

their company is leaving money on the table

...by pricing services so as to grow at a rate that the carrier can maintain.

Re:AT&T bugs me (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#40685689)

You are not everybody. The sooner we get this, the sooner we can stop worrying. People don't know and don't care that texting and tethering are effectively free to the carrier, and because of this the carrier charges fees and 99.999% of customers are none the wiser.

You want to change things? Blast your message out to everyone that it's cost-neutral. Here's the thing, though: You won't reach the vast majority of people, and those you reach are likely to completely ignore you. Inertia is a powerful force, and people will fight to maintain their ignorance. Understand this, and you'll understand why political leaders act like morons: because most people don't want to talk about real issues, they want to be entertained and they want to participate in a fight.

Re:AT&T bugs me (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#40685853)

Carriers incur no cost for tethering

That's like saying they incur no cost for voice calls. Tethering increases data use, so increases carrier costs -- even if you stay under your "free" allowance. The carrier oversells bandwidth (and voice capacity) because they know not everyone is going to use their allotment of bundled data and minutes. But if everyone tethered and suddenly increased their data use, the carriers would have to spend money increasing their cellular network capacity.

Chirp * Chirp * (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 years ago | (#40685259)

That's the sound of crickets [mycricket.com] .

No Android 4 (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40685673)

These prepaid MVNOs tend to run CDMA2000 without CSIM, and CDMA2000 without CSIM generally works only with phones sold by the carrier. I couldn't find a phone running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on Cricket's web site. What am I missing?

Re:No Android 4 (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685705)

Go with straight talk or T-mobile or Simple Mobile.
Then buy a Galaxy Nexus from the play store.

You could also get a Verizion Galxy Nexus and port it over.

Sharing? (2)

mister2au (1707664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685267)

"My favorite part is where you pay per-device and get nothing in return"

Surely you get connection to the network and unlimited calls/text for the $30-$45 per device (even if you assume you no extra data because you could have used it all on the first device).

Seems reasonable if an unlimited call/text plan is normally $70 for a single device.

Re:Sharing? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40685409)

"My favorite part is where you pay per-device and get nothing in return"

Surely you get connection to the network and unlimited calls/text for the $30-$45 per device (even if you assume you no extra data because you could have used it all on the first device).

Seems reasonable if an unlimited call/text plan is normally $70 for a single device.

$40/mo bill for services + $45/mo premium for phone ownership = $85/mo (for a single device)

This is to the exclusion of all the excise fees, taxes, and other miscellaneous bullshit telcos charge customers; I foresee a single device costing well over $100/mo on this new plan.

Re:Sharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685557)

$40/mo bill for services + $45/mo premium for phone ownership = $85/mo (for a single device)

Look, I hate AT&T as much as the next guy, but why the hell would you buy a shared plan for only one phone? For it to even make sense, you need at least 2 phones, so you'r looking at $65/device max (plus taxes/fees).

Re:Sharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685601)

Ok -- that makes me feel better. For a minute there, I was thinking that I had forgotten how to do math, given my non-shared separate data plans came out cheaper.... Turns out AT&T is just giving us a heads-up on how they're going to be screwing their customers in the near future.

Re:Sharing? (4, Informative)

Tauvix (97917) | about 2 years ago | (#40685627)

$40/mo bill for services + $45/mo premium for phone ownership = $85/mo (for a single device)

This is to the exclusion of all the excise fees, taxes, and other miscellaneous bullshit telcos charge customers; I foresee a single device costing well over $100/mo on this new plan.

This plan isn't for someone with a single phone. Nowhere has anyone said they're eliminating Individual plans, or existing family talk plans. This is for large groups, with a diverse set of devices.

If you have a single phone, stick with your Individual plan. If you have 2-3 people, stick with a Family Talk plan.

Re:Sharing? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40685661)

Yes it doesn't seem like a value to me. It doesn't really scale up.

Re:Sharing? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685421)

Nearly no one wants an unlimited call/txt plan. 100 of each would be more than enough for me.

Re:Sharing? (4, Informative)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#40685523)

Nearly no one wants an unlimited call/txt plan. 100 of each would be more than enough for me.

You are forgetting young people (teenagers, mostly). Each of my nephews and my younger sister can go through a 20-30 texts per day without trying hard.

Re:Sharing? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#40685681)

So, what you are saying is "one size doesn't fit all". Yet, this is exactly what AT&T and VZ are doing, going to "one size fits all" plan.

The shittiest part, is that it is becoming clear that there is no "choice".

"You can have a car in any color you like, as long as it is black"

Re:Sharing? (1)

Tauvix (97917) | about 2 years ago | (#40685653)

My family, with 6 adults on the account, uses close to 1600 minutes a month, and over 5000 texts per month. I'm quite happy with getting unlimited calling and texting.

How is this any better? (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#40685275)

Currently, I use US Cellular, and pay $30 a month for my data plan, which includes 5GB. How is paying $40 a month, plus $40 per device, and only getting 1GB going to be better than the competition?

Re:How is this any better? (1)

morningstar8 (234758) | about 2 years ago | (#40685475)

Alas, US Cellular doesn't sell that 5 gig data plan for $30 anymore. See here [uscellular.com] . Also, US Cellular doesn't share data between phones in the same data plan. Hold on to that current contact!

No Duopoly Here! (1)

renek (1301131) | about 2 years ago | (#40685277)

Oh good. I'm glad AT&T is going a different route than Verizon in an attempt to offer better service to their customers with the hope that rational-minded consumers will decide AT&T propostion offers better value... What? You mean the plans are extremely similar? That's crazy. Almost like there is some sort of collusion going on between the two companies that control 65%+ of the cell phone market in America, but that could never happen, right? Guys? Hello? http://www.thesimpledollar.com/verizon/ [thesimpledollar.com]

This from the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685285)

..."only network where your iPhone gets unlimited data," network (except for FaceTime.)

All those electrons must be costing AT&T something fierce for them to charge for their total movement. Makes me wonder when the electron pool will run out.

Re:This from the... (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#40685467)

..."only network where your iPhone gets unlimited data," network (except for FaceTime.)

All those electrons must be costing AT&T something fierce for them to charge for their total movement. Makes me wonder when the electron pool will run out.

You're thinking of Sprint. They still have unlimited data plans. And as long as they do they will have me as a customer. I rarely go over 2-3 GB/month but I like that when I have Pandora running I'm not worrying about how much I am paying to listen to each song should I go over my limit.

Do the math... (1)

Kit Cosper (7007) | about 2 years ago | (#40685287)

My family currently has 5 smartphones and a MiFi - about 1200 minutes on a calling plan, unlimited texting and data on everything. (an OLD plan) If we convert to one of the new bucket plans and allocate enough extra data to cover estimated monthly usage we *might* save $10 per month, but we would also be giving up a device (the MiFi) since tethering would be included for the smartphones. In short, we'd essentially pay the same and get less for it. No thanks!

Got to love that competition (4, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#40685289)

Ya got to love this competition that drives these major cellular companies to offer prices that are very competitive and it seems they are always trying to out do each other with their outrageous deals.

$15 a GB for going over?? (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40685293)

But when you have a phone on it's own it's only $10 a GB.

this is like costco 10 years ago (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40685377)

i remember the inflation of the early part of the last decade. i used to shop at costco and all the food and other things you bought on a regular basis would go up in price every month.

but things like a 5 year supply of toilet cleaner or a 10 year supply of plastic wrap stayed the same. i still have a 3000 foot roll of plastic wrap i bought at costco like 7 years ago.

its crazy, some stuff at costco will outlast marriages

same here, the cheap stuff like minutes and text AT&T is giving A LOT of for less. the value which is the data they are charging an arm and a leg for. and if i have 4GB why am i still going to pay $20 for a tablet on my plan even if i don't use any data on it?

Apple and Samsung are at fault too. $700 for a new phone? they are living on fat margins which are about to come crashing down as people go prepaid and keep their phones as long as a laptop

I'm glad I switch carriers (5, Informative)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 2 years ago | (#40685379)

For individual users this "bucket" plan is similar to the old plan. But seriously, this stuff is getting expensive with the big carriers. I switched from ATT to verizon years ago because I hated getting dropped calls. Never happened again in Verizon. Then I got their unlimited data and a smart phone. It was awesome and fast. Then they started capping their data and I upgraded the phone which did not grandfather me into their unlimited data plan. That's when things started to down hill... very fast.

That's when I realized I was paying way too much. I was paying $80/month for 2gig data, 350minutes and 500 txt message limit. I could pay over $100 for unlimited texting alone but everything else the same.

It was getting ridiculous and 3G was just getting slower for me because verizon would cap your speed if you went over 200mb!!! They said it was to help with people from going over the 2gig limit and to get the full speed again you have to go through a month where your data usage was less than 200mb... which basically meant you had to not use your phone at all for a month and still pay for it...

So, I switched to Virgin Mobile.

Yes, I paid $300 for my HTC Evo V 4g 3D phone, but the fact that it comes with no contract and a minimum $35/month bill for 350 minutes and unlimited texting and data* *they cap the speed if you go over 2.5gigs but once you pay that $35 phone card the limit is reseted. If you plan on having the phone for 2 years, that totals to $12.5 a month for paying the phone, which makes $35 + $12.5 = $47.5, which is still far cheaper than any plan out there from ATT, Sprint or Verizon (and TMobile). Plus you can buy the prepaid cards and not pay tax on them, so that's a true, flat $35/month payment.

Re:I'm glad I switch carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685763)

Oh man, thank you so much for pointing this out.
The second my contract expires with Verizon, I'm switching to this as well.
(Assuming this is still around in a year. With my luck? It won't be.)

Costs too much for very little. (1)

kannibul (534777) | about 2 years ago | (#40685391)

My family cell plan costs $65. No internet, no texting, no bull crap. I use it as a phone. She uses it as a phone. Sure beats the crap out of paying $130/mo for the same thing, that includes internet for a smart phone...and for what? So I can do stupid crap on a phone that I can do otherwise? Why bother? I have yet to see anything that a smart phone can do that says I gotta have one...especially considering the monthly upcharge to use one. My phone is the cheapest phone I could get under my plan. It was free, but, it's so no-frills that it probably cost more to ship than for the company that has my plan to purchase it...

Re:Costs too much for very little. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40685463)

You mean stupid crap like work from anywhere?

You can get two tmobile smartphone plans for $60, so I am not so sure what you are bragging about.

Re:Costs too much for very little. (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40685527)

My family cell plan costs $65. No internet...I use it as a phone. She uses it as a phone...

That must be the worlds most expensive prepaid service... My wife and I were sending Virgin Mobile about $10 to $15 each per month so that's less than half what you're paying. Depends on use of course. One especially busy month I had to pay twenty bucks !

cheapest phone I could get under my plan

Oh, you've got a plan. Sorry dude. You can save around another 50% by going prepaid. Those endless TV commercials your plan is paying for are expensive...

Re:Costs too much for very little. (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40685611)

i might have an iphone but i save on useless crap like paper newspapers, magazines and the like. why buy this stuff when the knowledge of the world is on the internet?

Re:Costs too much for very little. (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about 2 years ago | (#40685649)

$65/mo for two lines without data? Sounds like you're getting ripped off.

Car vs. bus (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40685727)

So I can do stupid crap on a phone that I can do otherwise?

Do you drive, or do you take public transit? I think the ability to do things on a phone that you could already do on a PC might be more popular among people who need something to occupy the time on public transit. But even among people who drive, a smartphone is useful for getting directions from your (unfamiliar) current location to your destination.

Gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685439)

I've been a Verizon customer for going on ten years, but I will not be renewing when my contract expires at the end of this year. Boost Mobile and other non-contract carriers offers a much better deal for the exact same product. Companies like Verizon and AT&T currently have no incentive to stop fleecing their customers. Vote with your wallet to change their perspective, or you get what you deserve.

Allow? (3, Funny)

EzInKy (115248) | about 2 years ago | (#40685465)

Since when has it been disallowed for family members to share data? Isn't exchanging and preserving information the defining charcteristic of humankind? Perhaps if we are lucky they'll allow us to walk upright as well.

200GB at that price would have been acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685473)

In fact, its only 20GB of data. Please editors, you're becoming the Best Buy of the blogosphere.

Someone Please Explain (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40685489)

How the hell these guys still have customers???

If it's not worth it, don't buy it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685501)

Gosh, it's that simple.

Most likely going to save me money (4, Interesting)

Tauvix (97917) | about 2 years ago | (#40685571)

This is most likely going to save me money. I can see where someone with only 3 phones on their account potentially wouldn't save any money with this, but I have 6 on mine. Because of existing AT&T rules, I can only have up to 5 phones per voice plan. So I currently end up with 2 voice plans.

By the time I'm done, we have the following structure:
$90/month plan w/ 1 additional $10/month phone (1400 minutes, and yes, the people on this plan regularly get close to that)
$70/month plan w/ 1 additional $10/month phone (700 minutes)
5 $30/month unlimited data plans (the average usage per month over the last year being about 1.2GB per month, per user)
1 $25/month 3GB plan
2 $30/month family unlimited texting/mobile-to-any-mobile plans.

Before taxes and add-ons like phone insurance, and my company discount, I currently pay $415/month.

By switching to the new structure it'd look like this (before taxes, add-ons, and discount):
$120 10GB/month plan (including unlimited voice and texting)
6 $30/month phone connection fee

$300/month. I'm going to save $115/month by switching to these plans, and if 10GB/month isn't enough, I can upgrade to the 15GB/month plan for another $40, and STILL save a bunch.

Is this a good deal for everyone? No. But in my situation, I believe it will be a good deal for my family (yes, everyone on my plan is related to me) of all adults, who are mostly around WiFi, half of whom are power users, and half of whom are normal users.

Also, before anyone pops up with "You should go prepaid!" I looked into going prepaid. While certainly it would work for 1 or 2 of my family members, the coverage for Sprint (which Virgin rides on) is crap in my area, and some of my family regularly travels to Canada, which - the last time i checked - is problematic. Some of that may have changed (certainly not the Sprint coverage - people complain constantly in my office), I admit, but I appear to be one of the few people with AT&T who has never experienced a problem with customer service, coverage, or data speeds.

My favorite part is when (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40685593)

You already own your phone, but still have to sign a 2 year contract, with all the credit checking and data sharing among businesses.

Continue to count me out.

I wish I could tell you to go with Sprint (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40685595)

At least Sprint has an unlimited plan. But they have pathetic 4G LTE coverage and their 3G painful at times, so good luck using that unlimited data to it's full potential.

Re:I wish I could tell you to go with Sprint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685795)

Well, yes, they only have 10%-20% of their LTE towers activated in the first round cities, but they are rolling out new towers VERY quickly. They are in the process of upgrading EVERY SINGLE TOWER to LTE and faster 3G, so things will improve dramatically in the next year. My area already has upgraded 3G towers, and I am getting 2Mbps speeds regularly.

In the meantime we still pay a $10 surcharge... (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40685917)

...not to mention until recently every 4G phone Sprint sold was non-LTE.

Sprint has zero roaming for voice and data, but they have no arrangements in place to offer 4G in areas where they haven't turned on the new towers you've mentioned.

I'm with Sprint because my employer gets a 17% corporate discount so they're the cheapest option for me.

Glad I live in Europe where prepaid options ... (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40685605)

... are abundant resulting in significant competition.

A floor price on these plans of roughly 100 USD/month for 2-years is ridiculous.

In other words .... (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#40685609)

Big Telecom has found a big, legal way to bilk people out of their money. These shared data plans are a scam! I can't believe they so brazenly do this when there are clear, viable alternatives. I've been with a prepaid carrier since 2009 and contract free and I'm not "credit challenged." It makes sense for everyone to investigate prepaid. Buy your phones refurbished or gently used at significant discounts and then activate them on prepaid carriers. I got my brother, mom, and dad on Page Plus Cellular. My mom and dad use about 1200 minutes per month so they are on 29.95 per month plans and 100mb of data. My brother and I use more so we go with a 55.00 per month talk, text, and 2GB of data. So, between all four of us we spend 170.00 per month. This is a great deal. We gave my dad a blackberry since he only cares about data as far as stock reports and emails. My mom just has a basic feature phone. My bro and I have smart phones.

Data Caps are the new "Long Distance" (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40685849)

Before everyone had a cheap cell in their pocket we all bitched about Long Distance costs and how artificial they were. After all, it didn't really cost phone companies anything to send a call through a few extra relays.

Now you place a cell call anywhere in the US and it's only a question of whether you are using minutes. In order to soak us service providers have switched their punitive pricing to data. SMS costs are ridiculous for the tiny amounts of data involved. Data caps and throttling keep people from getting the full potential out of their smart devices.

The cell industry is setting itself up for someone like Google to come in as a new provider and undermine their business model.

Hypocrisy at its best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40685899)

I just laugh at both AT&T and Verizon. They complain their networks are being bogged down by data users. THEY are the ones that forced the data plans on people in the first place. Want a smart phone? Not without a data plan.

This is what has stopped me from getting a smart phone since my Treo died several years ago. I wasn't required to get a data plan with my Treo and that was fine with me as I could just download apps on my computer and transfer them to the phone.

I would be very happy to get a smart phone with wifi and download apps that way, but again, they wont sell me a smart phone without a data plan. Perhaps if I purchased a completely unsubsidized phone I could get it without a data plan, but honestly, paying $400+ for a smart phone is just outrageous. I would rather go buy a laptop for that money.

For now, I am content with my AT&T gophone. No bells and whistles, costs me $25 every 90 days.

You never save when upgrading (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#40685921)

I have never, ever saved a dime when changing, or re-rolling my contract. About all you have to look forward to is a price break on a new phone every two years. It seems the mobile carriers always have it worked out so that you can choose between being nickel-and-dimed to death in monthly data/text/voice charges, or slayed with the sledgehammer of monthly "premium data" contracts.

I've not removed the wires for my landline yet and still have an answering machine in a box in the basement in the event I go back to the 90s. I'm thinking it might be kind of nice to go back to not being jacked-in all the time anyway.

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