Talking tech since 2003

Today, AT&T announced their new data plans to the public, the new plans are available as a 200MB DataPlus plan for $15 per month, and the 2GB DataPro plan for $25 per month. If you go over your allowed usage, data will be charged at $15 per 200MB on the DataPlus, and $10 per GB on the DataPro.  In addition, iPhone users can purchase a tethering option for an additional $20/month, but no extra transfer is provided.  Existing customers on the unlimited data plan are grandfathered in and can keep it as long as they have their account.  A lot of people seem to be up in arms about all of this – especially iPhone users who want to tether their phone to another device.  The problem for them is if you change your plan to allow tethering, you lose your unlimited data plan, forever.

I did some thinking about the caps put in place by AT&T.  Now let’s assume you did purchase the $25/month data plan which includes 2GB of transfer and the additional tethering option for $20.  That’s $45/month for 2GB of transfer.  Which in comparison to Verizon’s MiFi is a deal (I know because I have one).  Verizon’s MiFi plans are $40/month for 250MB and $60/month for 5GB.  I personally have the 5GB plan because 250MB is essentially a joke – my email would eat all of that up in one or two sessions.

Nonetheless, let’s go back to looking at AT&T’s new data plans.  If you have the 2GB plan, you pay an extra $10 for each additional GB you go over your allowed usage (2GB).  So in essence, you can get 4GB of transfer per month for $65, which yes, does cost more and is less than what Verizon offers for that price, but another way to see it would be as if you are getting a better deal if you were to use only 2GB-3GB most months.  I’m not defending AT&T here, I’m simply explaining how you can potentially view it.  Aside from that, I know you are worried about going over and that 2GB of transfer is nothing.  However, before you start foaming from the mouth consider this information.

The following is based on my Verizon MiFi usage and my iPhone’s data usage.

  • In the past 6 months, I have never used more than 1GB of transfer on my iPhone (per month) – even months where I’ve done live streaming or watched more YouTube videos than others.
  • Since I got my MiFi back in mid-May, I have only used 690MB of transfer and that was with surfing real websites on my Macbook Pro and watching the occasional video on YouTube.

My point is that our minds are so caught up with the word “unlimited” and the fact we have so much storage space available today, we seem to have forgotten how much 1GB really is, let alone 2GB.  1GB is 1024 Megabytes or 1048576 Kilobytes or even 1073741824 Bytes.  What I’m saying is that surfing the web from your iPhone or any smart phone isn’t going to kill your data transfer or cost you a fortune.  In fact, many websites today are optimized for mobile devices so they don’t eat up your transfer.  Even if it wasn’t optimize assume that the average web page is 130K – on a 2GB data plan, you could visit approximately 16,100 web pages every month before you hit 2GB.  And unless, you are constantly watching YouTube videos on your iPhone or smart phone, it really shouldn’t be too much of a problem (data usage wise).

Then again, if you are already an existing AT&T customer, get a MiFi and keep your unlimited data plan.  What do you care?  Verizon’s MiFi most likely will be faster and work in more places (and supports up to 5 devices) then AT&T’s iPhone tethering.

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