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AT&T to give smartphones 5GB soft cap?

updated 11:15 am EST, Fri January 11, 2008

ATT 5GB Soft Cap Leak

AT&T may impose a data limit on its previously unlimited smartphone Internet plans, according to an apparent leak from Howard Forums' employee-only discussions. If true, the carrier's plans for PDAs and smartphones would receive a 5GB data limit similar to that at its rival Verizon; unlike the latter's services, however, the limit will be 'soft' and meant to discourage heavy use rather than a potential cut-off point or a trigger for overage fees. Users will reportedly be warned if they frequently cross the limit and may be asked to consider alternatives.

In exchange, the cost of a data plan for the phone class should drop to $30 to match the same rates for AT&T's BlackBerry Personal plan, the report adds. Under the shift, text messaging will also allegedly be broken away from data bundles to allow users to potentially lower their costs; a standard "feature phone" data plan will cost $15 (down from $20) without texting but will require an extra $5 for 200 text messages or $15 for 1200 messages. Combining both unlimited data and text will cost about $35 per month on top of a calling plan.

All these updates should occur within the next few weeks, the AT&T workers say.

These smartphone plan changes may create an imbalance between users of conventional smartphones such as the AT&T Tilt and new cross-over devices such as the iPhone, effectively permitting heavier use of the Apple phone while discouraging more than essential use from its more work-oriented competitors.

Rate plans for the iPhone are unlikely to be affected as the plans were jointly devised by Apple and AT&T and roughly match the new pricing system for data and text messages. However, AT&T recently allowed iPhone subscribers to drop data from their plans and could theoretically allow discarding text messaging as well under the new format.

by MacNN Staff





  1. michaelper22

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AT&T = Antithesis of VZW

    After reading Wired's article, I've comee to se the light that in this case, AT&T is working in exactly the opposite way of Verizon.

    AT&T is allowing Apple to fully design a phone, and launch it on their network. Apple reatains full control over the device, and even makes AT&T lose out on content purchases.

    Verizon has its own house-designed interface on all of it's phones (except their smarthpones; you're not going to put the Verizon garbage on a Treo). They pretty much lock you into their content store. Finally they totally dictate how the phone operates, even trimming down such a widespread feature, Bluetooth, to the bare minimum.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969



    VZW has show that they're after nothing but the highest revenues possible, giving little thought to letting people use their mobiles as they want to. I'm stuck with them for at least another year, and just their bluetooth handicapping is enough to almost pay that severance fee. Seriously though, over-priced, poorly made, locked-environment plans makes them the MS of cell phones, except that Ma-Bell is still bigger.

    All the money they're loosing and will loose over not taking Apple's iPhone offering is only the beginning of what such greed deserves.

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