AT&T raises the cost of a reasonable data plan, yet again

att-simpsons-homer-strangling-bart

Back in 2010, AT&T led the way toward the elimination of unlimited data plans and now the carrier is at it again. On Jan. 22, the wireless carrier will raise the minimum cost of a usable smartphone data plan from $25 to $30 per month. This comes as the carrier begins widespread deployment of its 4G LTE network across the country. 

Here are the new data plans:

  • $20 per month for 300MB
  • $30 per month for 3GB
  • $50 per month for 5GB
Here are the old data plans:
  • $15 per month for 200MB
  • $25 per month for 2GB
  • $45 for 4GB (with tethering access)

Much like how AT&T doubled the minimum cost of a texting plan to $20 earlier this year, the company is spinning these price increases as better “value” for customers. Unfortunately, the reality is that subscribers now have to pay $30 instead of $25 for a smartphone plan with enough data to actually use your smartphone and those poor unfortunate souls who opt for the cheapest plan available will now have to pay $20 for 300MB instead of $15 for 200MB, meaning they are being ripped off even more than they were before.

Overages for users on the cheap plan have gotten worse as well. Those who try to save some money by opting for the least expensive option get dinged with overages that are more than six times higher ($20 for another 300MB) than the $10 for an extra 1GB that those with the 3GB plan get. 

Here is the new base price of an individual AT&T smartphone plan (with texting and a usable data plan more than 1GB):

  • $40 per month for 450 minutes of talk
  • $20 per month for unlimited texting
  • $30 for 3GB of data
  • Total: $90 before fees and taxes

Sadly, Verizon’s prices are almost just as bad, except that it still offers a $10 per month texting plan (1000 texts) and does not have a somewhat malicious 200-300MB plan. If AT&T truly wanted to offer a $20 plan, then it should offer 2GB for $20 and 1GB for $10. Its prices are higher because it wishes to create a plan that is almost unusable to force overages or its users to bump up to a more expensive plan.

We suppose this is one way for AT&T to pay off the $4 billion in damages it now owes T-Mobile since the merger fell through.

AT&T’s last big rate change was slowly followed by Verizon. Will other carriers raise rates now as well?

Update: Small correction in T-Mobile payout amount.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Mobile

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Mobile

Sprint offers holiday buy one, get one free deal for iPhone XR lease

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Deals

The best iPhone deals for November 2018

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for November 2018.
Mobile

T-Mobile OnePlus 6T phones get some improvements in update

The new OnePlus 6T continues OnePlus's tradition, coming with flagship power, camera performance, and the gorgeous design you want -- but for under $600. Here's everything you need to know about the OnePlus 6T.
Smart Home

You can now make Skype calls on Amazon Echo devices

Amazon's Alexa can now make video and voice calls with Microsoft's Skype audio and video calling. Alexa-enabled devices can make voice calls. Alexa devices with video can make video calls to computers, mobile devices, and Xboxes.
Mobile

Google replaces its classic Search page with Discover on mobile devices

As part of its 20th anniversary, Google unveiled its plans to improve Search, starting with its Google Feed. Now known as Discover, the update brings along a redesign to help you find content that aligns with your interests.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? We have a simple guide right here that will help you to locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older model.
Social Media

Time alerts put the brakes on Facebook consumption, are rolling out now

Just how much time do you spend scrolling through the Facebook feed? Facebook will now tell you. The new features also include daily alerts that tell users when they've spent too much time on the social network.
Computing

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Deals

The best Walmart Black Friday deals in 2018

Walmart has historically been the undisputed king of Black Friday deals. The mega-store is known for offering deals on products in almost every category, from smart TVs to children’s toys. We're combing through every deal as it is…