AT&T data plan changes

AT&T announced changes to their iPhone and iPad data plans today. Press Release
First, I’m disappointed that they’ve changed the iPad data plan options. They’ve removed the $30 unlimited data plan and replaced it with a 2gb $25/month plan. Many people (myself included) were getting a 3g iPad so they can take advantage of the unlimited data plan when traveling along with the option of turning it on or off when needed. Now you’re stuck with a cap on your data usage, something most people won’t go over but it’s still constantly in your head. I wish AT&T would have just kept the $30 unlimited plan, and made some kind of announcement explaining what’s going on… something like “iPad traffic is costing us too much money, but we’ll still keep our plans until June 1st, 2011 and then we’ll make changes then.” That would have been the honorable thing to do. Also, the $30 unlimited plan was one of the major selling points Apple used to pitch the 3g iPad. Sure, AT&T is offering to grandfather those who are already signed up to the unlimited plan, but that doesn’t help most of the folks who wanted to turn on and off the unlimited plan option when needed. Someone on Hacker News wrote a FTC complaint worth reading, See link
Second, I’m disappointed that they’re charging $20 for tethering when they also are limiting data to 2gb for $25/month. Sure, most people don’t use 2gb and it’s $5 less than unlimited. But if you’re paying for 2gb data per month, you should be able to use that in whatever manner you’d like – either on your phone, or tethering to your laptop or iPad. It’s ridiculous to charge $20/month more for tethering when AT&T isn’t even doing anything. The tethering function is built into the iPhone OS and doesn’t require AT&T to lift a dime. AT&T should let people tether for free, now that they’ve capped data at 2gb for $25/month.

Third, I’m disappointed that AT&T is marketing these changes as “lowered data prices.” They should call it just “changed data plan prices.” What they’re doing seems disingenuous.

This is on top of not being able to use my iPhone inside my home because AT&T coverage is so poor where I am. AT&T is not gaining any points with me. The pressure is building. Apple, free the iPhone from AT&T and open it up to all willing carriers.

6/3 Update:
more specifics on the data plan changes
Good and Bad about AT&T Data plan changes by John Gruber

6/5 Update:
David Pogue on AT&T data plans – David Pogue basically agrees with my first two points: 1) bait-and-switch of the 3g iPad unlimited plan, and 2) $20 extra tethering charge.   I do agree with him that the $15/month 200mb and $25/month 2gb plan for iPhone is not bad and will save most people money.

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