Good news and bad news here, folks: the good news is that AT&T will begin offering new data plans with a higher monthly allotment. The bad news is that, once again, it's going to cost you more. The plans, which will offer 300MB of data for $20, 3GB for $30 and 5GB (including mobile hotspot access) for $50, will take effect beginning this Sunday. Are you still on one of the older plans? Fortunately, you're still grandfathered in and won't have to change unless you absolutely want to. But remember that once you move to the new data rate, there's no going back; the only legacy plan sticking around is AT&T's 250MB tablet feature for $15. The change in plans appears to be priced the same as Verizon, though the two higher rate plans on AT&T have an advantage in that it hooks you up with an extra gigabyte of data capacity. The question is, will it be worth paying an additional $5 per month for that extra gig? Oh, and we're still waiting on that shared data plan in the meantime, Ralph.
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AT&T LAUNCHES NEW DATA PLANS

Customers Get More Data, More Value

DALLAS, JANUARY 18, 2012 - AT&T today announced new data plans for smartphone and tablet customers that will launch this Sunday, January 22. The plans give customers more data and value.

The new smartphone plans include:

· AT&T Data Plus 300MB: $20 for 300MB

· AT&T Data Pro 3GB: $30 for 3GB

· AT&T Data Pro 5GB: $50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

Smartphone customers needing additional data can pay $10 per additional gigabyte on the AT&T Data Pro 3GB and Data Pro 5GB plans; AT&T Data Plus users will receive an extra 300MB for $20.

The new tablet plans* include:

· AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $30 for 3GB

· AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $50 for 5GB

Existing smartphone and tablet customers will have the choice of keeping their current plans or choosing one of these new plans, and the current $14.99 for 250MB plan for tablet customers will remain available.

To help customers determine which data plan best matches their needs, AT&T has helpful tools at www.att.com/dataplans – including a data calculator where customers can estimate usage for their typical data activity. Once smartphone and tablet customers are on a plan, AT&T keeps them informed of their usage levels by sending usage alerts as they consume data within their plan. For example, a smartphone customer with AT&T DataPlus 300MB will receive a text message when they consume 65 percent of their data bucket, plus two additional alerts as they approach the 300MB provided with their plan.

"Customers are using more data than ever before," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment."

Customers are encouraged to keep their device's Wi-Fi turned on because data usage over Wi-Fi does not count against a customer's monthly data plan. As an added value, AT&T smartphone and tablet customers have access at no additional charge to AT&T's 29,000 Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide – the nation's largest Wi-Fi network.** Customers can get more information at www.att.com/wifiaccess.