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Why AT&T’s New Data Plan Will Likely Save You Money


Jun 16, 20103083Views3Comments

Most of us were pretty upset when AT&T announced it would get rid of unlimited data plans, but if you are in the vast majority of iPhone users, a look at your past data usage will reveal that AT&T’s new plan will actually save you $60 a year.

Currently, AT&T’s unlimited data plan is $30 per month, but the new plan will cost $25 per month for 2 gigabytes of data, plus $25 for every 2 gigabyte increments you exceed. AT&T will no longer offer the unlimited data plan.

The idea of AT&T revoking the choice of unlimited data seems frustrating, but further investigation reveals that only extremely heavy data users will pay more money per month.

After doing some casual research, I realized that even a frequent iPhone user like me uses far less than 2 gigabytes of data per month.

Here’s what I found when I went to Settings >> General >> Usage:

iPhone Data Usage

These data usage statistics show that I’ve used a total of 9.3 gigabytes in the last 12 months, since I bought this iPhone 3GS. As someone who owns an iPhone-related website and is always on their iPhone, I was surprised to see that in the last year I have used only an average of .775 gigabytes per month. That’s less than 1 gigabyte per month without ever trying to restrict my data usage.

If my data usage is far less than 2 GB, I would venture to guess that yours is, too, unless you spend hours upon hours watching videos over 3G every day or downloading very large email attachments.

I have asked a few of my friends and family to check their own iPhone data usage, and every one has been surprised to find that they are actually going to save $5 a month with AT&T’s new data plan, since your data fee will drop from from $30 for unlimited data to $25 for more than you need.

You can thank those few extremely heavy iPhone users for subsidizing your new cheaper plan. Of course, as mobile phone usage continues to soar, we will likely start using more data, and perhaps spending more money in data chargers. At that point, will AT&T improve its infrastructure to meet the demand, or simply charge higher data fees?

How Much Data Do You Use?

Go to Settings >> General >> Usage and see how much data you’ve used since you purchased your iPhone. Will you save or lose money with AT&T’s new data plan?

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3 Comments

  1. I just checked mine. it says current period 3 days, 1 hours. Lifetime is the same.
    sent 3.9 GB, received 5.2 So I dialed in *DATA# and got a more accurate number: DATA *MB 197.5 unlimited until tomorrow when my new cycle begins.I changed the contract to the new $15/mo rate for my husband and my son. My husband hardly uses his phone. My son went over immediately because he was watching youtube or something like that. That only happened the first month after I changed their accounts. I don’t want to keep worrying about everything I use.Same with flexible spending. We are on data overload for everything these days, and I’m sick of it. That is why I keep mine on unlimited for now. I want to enjoy my IPHONE without keeping track about what I use and what I don’t use.If I am forced to cut down which may happen when hubby retires, then I guess I’ll have to.

  2. I’m always on Facebook and at&t Navigator and was surprised to see I’m only using 300mb or less per month. I think the $5/month return is decent. I’m still complaining about unfortunately having 3 iPhones in my house and having to pay seperately with no discount option (their data usage is less than mine). I now also have an iPad. I went wi-fi because I refuse to ante up again. The data costs almost more than my service. I pay less for my wi-fi at home with reliable speed (i won’t go into my spotty 3g coverage rant here).

  3. Only reason why I Useless less than gig a month is the lack of 3g coverage – load time On edge is very slow

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