An AT&T logo seen outside an AT&T store.
Enlarge / An AT&T retailer in Washington, DC, on April 21, 2015.

Getty Images | Bloomberg

AT&T yesterday introduced three new “unlimited” data plans. Keeping monitor of all of the completely different limits on AT&T’s limitless cell plans is simply as tough as ever, however there’s some excellent news for purchasers who use heaps of smartphone data.

Buying AT&T’s most cost-effective limitless plan nonetheless comes with the danger of getting your data throttled to speeds slower than these supplied to different prospects when the community is congested. The doable throttling could be imposed at any time, even when a buyer hasn’t used a lot data that month. But whereas upgrading to pricier plans at the moment solely offers AT&T prospects 22GB a month earlier than doable throttling, the plans popping out quickly have choices for at the least 50GB or 100GB of un-throttled use.

AT&T’s present entry-level plan known as “Unlimited & More.” It prices $70 per thirty days for one line (not together with taxes and charges), with the per-line costs descending with every extra line you purchase. Each line prices $40 a month when you purchase 4 traces.

It comes with an enormous restriction. “On AT&T Unlimited & More, for all data usage, customer[s] may temporarily experience reduced speeds on these line(s) during times of network congestion,” AT&T says. Customers aren’t throttled to the identical pace every time. Instead, these prospects get slower speeds than prospects who purchased different plans after they’re in a congested community space. Speeds are returned to regular if the community congestion clears up or if the client strikes to an un-congested location.

The Unlimited & More plan additionally solely consists of SD video high quality as video streams are throttled to 1.5Mbps, and mobile-hotspot utilization is just not allowed.

Starting November 3, AT&T will supply a brand new “Unlimited Starter” plan because the entry-level version at costs of $65 per thirty days for a single line or $35 for every line if you purchase 4 traces.

“You’ll get unlimited calls, texts, and data, with the catch that AT&T can throttle you whenever it decides that the network is too congested,” The Verge reported yesterday. “Unlike the other plans, there’s no guaranteed pool of data before deprioritizing starts. You’re also limited to SD-quality video, and there’s no option to share your Internet by using your phone as a mobile hotspot.”

The throttling particulars weren’t talked about in AT&T’s press launch, however AT&T confirmed to Ars that the above particulars are right.

New premium choices

If you need mobile-hotspot utilization, HD video streaming, and a assured quantity of data earlier than you could be throttled, you must pay extra. With the present “Unlimited & More Premium” plan that can quickly get replaced, data could be throttled after you employ 22GB in a month. This plan prices $80 per thirty days for a single line and $48 per line when you purchase 4 traces. The plan allows 15GB of high-speed mobile-hotspot use and HD streaming in 1080p.

Going ahead, there shall be two premium choices as an alternative. AT&T Unlimited Extra, out there November 3, shall be $75 a month for a single line or $40 per line with 4 traces. The plan consists of at the least 50GB of data per thirty days earlier than you could be throttled throughout occasions of congestion, in addition to 15GB of high-speed mobile-hotspot data. However, video is proscribed to SD.

The new top-level plan is Unlimited Elite, and AT&T stated it’ll launch “in the coming weeks” however didn’t reveal a particular launch date. This one is $85 a month for a single line or $50 per line with 4 traces, and it comes with 100GB of data earlier than any potential throttling. Unlimited Elite additionally has 30GB of high-speed mobile-hotspot data and HD-quality streaming video.

There are additionally modifications during which video providers come bundled with limitless plans. Both of AT&T’s present limitless plans include AT&T’s WatchTV service, which has 35 channels of reside TV. Unlimited & More Premium additionally lets prospects select one of the next providers: HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, Pandora Premium, Spotify Premium, and VRV.

The new limitless plans won’t embody WatchTV and won’t give prospects a alternative of leisure providers. However, Unlimited Elite will embody HBO and HBO Max when it’s launched in May 2020.

AT&T settlement with FTC is pending

AT&T’s throttling of limitless data plans was once much more restrictive. Until a change in 2015, AT&T prospects who used 5GB of LTE data in a single month-to-month billing interval have been throttled for the remainder of the month always, regardless of whether or not they have been in a congested community space.

The Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T in October 2014, saying it misled customers by promising limitless data whereas imposing draconian throttling insurance policies. The FTC and AT&T lately reached a tentative settlement, however particulars of the deal have not been made public but. AT&T can be dealing with a class-action lawsuit over the apply.


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