AT&T wants more of your money, Sprint offering EVO on Friday

Steve Jobs’ promise of “unlimited” data on iPad 3G is no more. If you are considering an iPad 3G, please be aware that AT&T just quietly announced the discontinuation of the unlimited data plan for new iPads. Instead, users will be offered 2 options –

  • 2GB a month (not much if you surf and watch online video with any regularity) for $25/month + taxes. Excess usage will be billed at $10/GB.
  • 200MB a month (completely worthless) for $15/month + taxes. Excess usage will be billed at $15 for 200MB blocks.

Cancelling your account? That’s going to cost even more…

For those who just want out of their AT&T account and are willing to pay the early termination fee, be forewarned. AT&T is upping that fee on all new lines of service to $325 from the original $175. Ouch! We can only hope that the government will put pressure on AT&T to reduce these the same way they did with Verizon earlier this year.

Verizon’s early termination fee is still a flat $175, T-Mobile and Sprint are both pro-rated based on remaining contract.

New iPhone 4G – catches all around

Rumors are flying that the AT&T only iPhone 4G will announced next week (June 7th).

We can only hope that the government will put pressure on AT&T to reduce these the same way they did with Verizon earlier this year.

In preparation, AT&T is not going to offer their unlimited data plan on the new iPhone 4G phones. The same rates for the iPad are expected to apply to new iPhones ($25/month for 2GB and $15/month for 200MB apply).

If there is some way to do video conferencing with the new iPhone 4G (which has a camera on the front as well as the back) – you can expect that to eat up your valuable MB and GB of data allotment fast – video conferencing can easily use 5-10MB per minute – a single 30 minute video conference could cost you 15% of your monthly 2GB allotment! Ouch!

Anyone with an existing iPhone won’t have to worry until you need a new phone – you’re grandfathered in on your unlimited data account. If however, you want the new 4G device, you’ll have no choice than to take the new data billing structures.

For those who want to use Skype on their iPhones (3G or 4G) to avoid using minutes, be forewarned that you will pay extra for Skype calls via iPhone starting at the beginning of next year. Pricing has not been announced. There will be no free lunch.

As for AT&T’s coveted ‘Rollover’ on unused plan allotments? Only on your minutes – rollover is not offered for data or text messaging and there are no plans to change that.

‘Tethering’ is coming – pay AT&T monthly for the privilege!

For those wanting to be able to tether your iPhone to your laptop for Internet access abroad, AT&T will start offering that soon, too. The catch is that you will give up your unlimited data plan for a “DataPro” plan which also features a 2GB/month capped account. They also will charge you an extra $20/month for the privilege to use tethering (total of $45/month + taxes for data). Excess usage will be billed at $10/GB. That can get expensive fast. Still no word as to why AT&T finds it reasonable to charge $20/month to enable something on your phone that’s been possible all along with a unsupported hack. Not to mention that it doesn’t cost AT&T any extra to allow tethering.

AT&T/iPhone Alternatives?

There’s nothing in sight at the moment for a Verizon version of the iPhone. Rumors are flying, but Apple and Verizon refuse to confirm or deny anything.

Sprint is releasing the Android based EVO phone on Friday – which is being hailed by some as a great alternative to the iPhone. It’s just too bad it’s on Sprint, which has a bad reputation (particularly in Portland) for substandard coverage and network performance.

Verizon’s Android based Incredible is also looking promising. The Palm Pre Pro is also a great device that Verizon allows tethering with for no extra cost.





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