AT&T is planning to axe its traditional monthly calling and data plans for new customers -- both individual and family -- in favor of the network's latest shared data options, Engadget has learned after receiving an anonymous tip and reaching out to AT&T. It appears that this move is in response to the overwhelming success of AT&T's Mobile Share since its original debut. Existing customers who have been enjoying the older offerings won't see any change to their plan, and will even still have the option to upgrade phones, activate lines and adjust their plans accordingly without being forced onto the shared data plans (for instance, you'd be able to move from one traditional family plan to another). We've also confirmed that the individual $40 plan that comes with 450 minutes, which doesn't require texting or data, will still be available to new customers who only need an absolute basic plan. We had a feeling that it was only a matter of time before AT&T followed Verizon's move (Big Red killed off its traditional plans right when its new shared data plans launched), since the two carriers have put most of their focus on shared data plans in the past year or so. AT&T tells us that more details will be on the way in the near future, so we'll update our post at that time.
Update: AT&T has now made the news official on its consumer blog. The simplification will take place on October 25th. We've added the text from the blog post below the break, if you want to check out more details.
In recent years, the way customers use their phones and other devices has changed - a lot.
To address the evolution, we introduced AT&T Mobile Share plans last year. In less than a year, our postpaid customers have connected more than 13 million devices* via Mobile Share plans** – and the number continues to grow daily.
Today, Mobile Share is the most popular plan that new customers choose when coming to AT&T. AT&T offers a variety of Mobile Share plans which include unlimited talk and text for phones. In addition, mobile hotspot service is included at no extra charge for capable smartphones and tablets. With Mobile Share, customers have the flexibility to add new devices to their plan when they choose, such as adding a tablet for only $10 more a month. Customers can choose to connect up to ten devices and select the data plan that best suits their needs for sharing data across those devices.
Beginning Oct. 25, we're streamlining the plans we offer new customers. Our customers have expressed an overwhelming preference for simplified options that allow them to share data across multiple devices. New customers will have the choice of any of our Mobile Share plans, which start as low as $50 a month for a basic phone or $70 a month for a smartphone – both of which include unlimited talk and text and 300MB of data that can be shared***. In 95 percent of the new customer scenarios, Mobile Share offers the same or better price with additional value.
For current customers, there is no change. They can choose to switch to Mobile Share, or they can continue to enjoy, upgrade or downgrade their existing plan. Unlike some wireless providers, none of our customers will be forced to switch plans if they'd like to stick with what they have – even when upgrading to a new device.
Mobile Share plans offer the best value and something for everyone, while making it even easier to choose the right plan.