AT&T Customers With Grandfathered Unlimited iPad Data Plans Will See Throttling After 22GB of Usage

AT&T today sent out emails to customers who continue to have a grandfathered unlimited data plan for the iPad, informing them that its unlimited status is essentially being eliminated on May 24, 2017.

Going forward, customers with an unlimited tablet data plan may see their data usage throttled when using more than 22GB of data during a single bill period. According to AT&T, data may be slowed down during times of network congestion.

While that's in line with AT&T's policy for its newly announced unlimited data plans, it's a big change for iPad owners who are not used to having a data cap in place. Prior to the change, iPad owners with the grandfathered unlimited plan have not been subject to restrictions.

AT&T briefly offered unlimited iPad data plans after the original iPad was released in 2010, but phased them out just months later. Since then, customers who managed to purchase one of the plans have been able to hold onto them, making the unlimited plan highly coveted.

The plans required no contract and cost $29.99 per month, with customers able to transfer them to new iPads and even sell them to other iPad owners. With the change coming on May 24, the original unlimited iPad data plans will be much less attractive.

(Thanks, David and Eli!)

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AT&T Unlimited Plus Data Plan Now Includes Free HBO Subscription

Thanks to AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, customers on the network's Unlimited Plus data plan will now have the chance to watch HBO programming at no additional cost. Beginning tomorrow, April 6, customers on Unlimited Plus data plans who already subscribe to HBO through AT&T video services like DirecTV, DirecTV Now, or U-Verse TV, will no longer have to pay for the premium channel.

For the same customers on Unlimited Plus and one of AT&T's video services who don't have HBO, they'll be able to automatically receive access to the premium network as well. Lastly, for cord-cutters without a cable package who subscribe to Unlimited Plus, AT&T is offering HBO content either through DirecTV Now or HBO GO apps. Pricing on Unlimited Plus remains the same at $90/month for one line and $145/month for two lines, with additional lines added at the cost of $20 per new line.


Unlimited data plans have come back in full force this year, with new options from all four major carriers launching within a week of one another.
“People who want the best in entertainment want HBO. This latest unlimited wireless plan shows AT&T continuing to innovate and give customers what they desire,” said Bernadette Aulestia, executive vice president of Global Distribution, HBO. “When consumers see HBO as part of an entertainment package, they know they are getting the valued benefit of some of the greatest original programming and most recent Hollywood movies.”
AT&T is also offering Unlimited Plus users a $25 monthly video credit that can be used on its range of video services as long as they remain on the wireless plan. The monthly credit starts within three bill cycles, while the free HBO credit starts within two bill cycles.

In related premium channel news, cord-cutting service Sling TV recently added Showtime into its lineup at the additional cost of $10 per month for Sling TV users. The channels include Showtime, Showtime 2, Showtime Beyond, and more, and includes all of Showtime's original series like Homeland, Shameless, and the upcoming reboot of Twin Peaks.

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AT&T Launches $60 ‘Unlimited’ Prepaid Plan as T-Mobile Raises Throttling Minimum to 30GB

AT&T today introduced a new GoPhone prepaid plan with unlimited talk, text, and data at a max speed of 3 Mbps for $65 per month, or $60 with AutoPay enabled. However, unlike AT&T's new $90 Unlimited Plus plan with up to 10GB of 4G LTE tethering, the GoPhone plan does not include Mobile Hotspot capabilities.


Each line that exceeds 22GB of data usage may experience reduced speeds to a max of 128 Kbps on that line for the remainder of the 30-day term, but only at times and in areas where there is network congestion, which is similar to 22GB and 23GB soft cap policies from Verizon and Sprint respectively.

T-Mobile this week raised its own deprioritization threshold to 30GB, up from a previous minimum of 28GB, as spotted by TmoNews.

A cheaper GoPhone plan is available for $45 per month, or $40 with AutoPay, and includes unlimited talk, text, and up to 6GB of data at a max speed of 3 Mbps. After 6GB, data speeds are slowed to a max of 128 kbps for rest of the 30-day term. Unused data rolls over to the next month. No tethering is included.

Both plans have Stream Saver mode enabled by default, which reduces streaming video to 1.5 Mbps or around 480p quality, but it can be turned off through AT&T's website to stream video in HD quality. Both plans also include talk, text, and data roaming in Canada and Mexico at no additional charge.

The new GoPhone plans are ideal for customers that do not need tethering and are looking to avoid credit checks, activation fees, and deposits, but otherwise AT&T's new Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Choice plans and competing options are worth considering for better features or value.

AT&T's pricing includes monthly access charges, but the plans are not inclusive of taxes or additional fees. Comparatively, Verizon Unlimited starts at $80 per month, Sprint Unlimited starts at $50 per month for a limited time, and T-Mobile ONE, which includes all taxes and fees, starts at $70 per month.

The new prepaid plans appear to be available immediately, but AT&T has yet to update its GoPhone website. Additional lines can be added to each plan, with multi-line discounts ranging between $5 and $20 per month.


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AT&T’s New DirecTV Now Loyalty Promo Includes Free HBO for 12 Months or $5 Off for 6 Months

AT&T today announced a new loyalty reward for its DirecTV Now subscribers, offering free HBO for 12 months or $5 off for six months.

All existing customers with active DirecTV Now accounts that were created before March 6, 2017 can claim the loyalty reward. Customers with the "Go Big" and "Gotta Have It" plans will get 12 months of free HBO, while customers with the "Live a Little" and "Just Right" plans will get the $5 off reward.

Customers eligible for the HBO reward will be able to use their DirecTV Now login information to access HBOGo, and the HBO subscription will be listed in their Payment History as a $0 charge. Those who already have an HBO subscription will be automatically credited during the 12-month duration of the promotion.


Because the HBO add-on is priced at $5 per month, customers with the smaller plans can use their $5 credit to get free HBO access for six months.

DirecTV Now subscribers are receiving emails about the promotion starting this afternoon.
You're getting HBO included with your existing package through March 7, 2018. You literally don't need to do a single thing other than enjoy all of HBO with unlimited access to the most entertaining movies, addictive series, family favorites and more.

Why now? Why you?

Simply put, we want to thank you for being one of our most valuable customers and coming on this unprecedented journey with us. We're dedicated to making DIRECTV NOW the best streaming entertainment product in the industry, and because of you, we're on our way. So go on, keep enjoying the huge library of the best entertainment with unlimited access to all of HBO--anytime, anywhere. Want more deets? Check out our FAQ."
HBO access will be granted automatically to eligible accounts, but it may take a few hours for accounts to be updated.

Introduced in November of 2016, DirecTV Now is AT&T's DirecTV-branded streaming television service, which includes various channel bundles at prices ranging from $35 to $70.

The cheapest "Live a Little" $35 per month plan offers 60+ channels, while the biggest "Gotta Have It" package, priced at $70 per month, offers 120+ channels.


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AT&T Announces New Unlimited Data Plan With 10GB of Tethering and $25 Off DirecTV

AT&T launched a new unlimited data plan less than two weeks ago, but with more competitive options available from Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, it went back to the drawing board and came up with something better.


Starting Thursday, new and existing AT&T customers can choose from two new plans: Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Choice.

Unlimited Plus starts at $90 per month for a single line and includes unlimited talk, text, and data at up to 4G LTE speeds. Video can be streamed in HD quality, but Stream Saver mode, which reduces streaming video to around 480p quality, is enabled by default and must be turned off through myAT&T.

AT&T Unlimited Plus includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE tethering per line per month, with speeds reduced to a max 128 Kbps for the rest of the bill cycle for eligible devices once the high-speed allotment is exceeded.

Two smartphone lines starts at $145 per month, while up to eight additional devices, such as tablets and hotspots, can be added for $20 per month each. The pricing includes monthly access charges, but it is not inclusive of taxes or additional fees. AutoPay and paperless billing are required.

For a limited time, AT&T Unlimited Plus customers can receive a $25 bill credit towards DirecTV, DirecTV NOW, or AT&T U-verse each month. The bill credits begin in 2-3 billing periods. The total monthly cost for AT&T Unlimited Plus with DirecTV NOW, for example, would start at $100 per month after discounts.

Meanwhile, AT&T Unlimited Choice is a new cheaper option starting at $60 per month for a single line, and includes unlimited talk, text, and data at up to 3 Mbps speeds. Video streams at a max of 1.5 Mbps, aka about 480p. No discount is offered for bundling DirecTV, DirecTV NOW, or U-verse.

Two smartphone lines starts at $115 per month, while up to eight additional devices, such as tablets and hotspots, can be added for $20 per month each. The pricing includes monthly access charges, but it is not inclusive of taxes or additional fees. AutoPay and paperless billing are required.

For both plans, customers that exceed 22GB of data usage may experience reduced speeds for the remainder of the billing cycle, but only at times and in areas where there is network congestion, which is similar to 22GB, 23GB, and 28GB soft cap policies from Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile respectively.

Additionally, AT&T said both plans allow individuals and businesses to make unlimited calls from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico, and send unlimited texts to over 120 countries. AT&T customers on these plans can also use their plan to talk, text, and use data in Canada and Mexico with no roaming charges.

Video references AT&T's earlier unlimited data plan

AT&T's earlier unlimited data plan started at $100 per month and did not include any tethering, so its new plans offer better value. Meanwhile, Verizon Unlimited starts at $80 per month, Sprint Unlimited starts at $50 per month for a limited time, and T-Mobile ONE starts at $70 per month, inclusive of taxes and fees.


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Data Plan Comparison: Unlimited Options From T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint

T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, the four major carriers in the United States, all offer unlimited data plan options as of last week, allowing customers to forget about traditional data caps.

With so many options now available for unlimited data, we thought we'd do an in-depth video comparing the plans offered by the four companies to figure out the best value based on price and coverage.

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Unsurprisingly, Sprint offers the lowest prices, but many people choose not to use Sprint because its LTE coverage is poorer than other carriers. Eliminating Sprint, T-Mobile offers the next best deal, while Verizon comes in third, and AT&T comes in at a distant fourth.

For a single individual, Sprint charges $50 for new customers (for a limited time -- it goes up to $60 next year). T-Mobile charges $70, Verizon charges $80, and AT&T charges $100, making it the most expensive unlimited plan of the four carriers for an individual user.

Prices even out a bit more with an increasing number of lines. At four lines, Sprint is charging $90 (new customers only -- and it's $160 next year), T-Mobile charges $160, and Verizon and AT&T both charge $180. Not all plans are equal though, especially in AT&T's case.

While Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all offer high-definition video streaming by default, AT&T limits video streaming to 480p unless customers specifically opt out. Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile all also offer 10GB of tethering data per line for connecting your Mac or iPad to your phone, but AT&T offers no mobile hotspot functionality with its unlimited plan.

T-Mobile offers the same video streaming and hotspot option that Verizon and Sprint do, but its prices are better than Verizon and aren't much more than Sprint, while offering a better network. T-Mobile is also the only network that offers fee-free data plans, so the price listed -- $70 -- is what you pay. T-Mobile doesn't charge activation fees, but other carriers do, which is something to take into account.

All networks will "deprioritize" (aka slow down) data after a certain amount of data is used per month. T-Mobile's limit is 28GB, while AT&T's is 22GB, Verizon's is 22GB, and Sprint's is 23GB. When these caps are hit, data speeds are slowed down.

On paper, T-Mobile seems to offer the best value for the price, but it's always worth taking a look at coverage maps and getting the opinion of other cellular users in your area before choosing a provider. There are also other benefits to look into, such as coverage abroad -- another area where T-Mobile leads the pack.


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AT&T to Launch New Unlimited Data Plan

Following in the footsteps of T-Mobile and Verizon, AT&T today announced plans to debut a new unlimited data plan that's available to all of its postpaid customers. The unlimited plan will be available starting tomorrow.

AT&T previously offered an unlimited data plan, but it was limited to customers who were also DirecTV or U-Verse customers.

According to AT&T, the new plan will provide unlimited talk, text, and data on four lines for $180, which is more expensive than T-Mobile's ONE data plan for four customers and on par with Verizon's pricing, also at $180 for four lines. A single line is priced at $100.


AT&T is including unlimited calls from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico and unlimited texts to more than 120 countries around the world. Customers are also able to talk, text, and use data in Canada and Mexico with no roaming charges.
"We're offering unlimited entertainment on the nation's best data network where and when you want to enjoy more of what you love," said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of the AT&T Entertainment Group.
AT&T's $180 price point is after a $40 credit for the fourth smartphone line, which will start after two billing periods. Prior to then, customers will need to pay $220 per month for the plan.

The company's fine print says that AT&T "may slow speeds" during periods of network congestion for customers who consume more than 22GB of data, which is not a surprise as T-Mobile and Verizon's plans contain similar caveats. The unlimited plan also includes the Stream Saver feature, which downgrades video to 480p. Stream Saver is enabled by default, but can be turned off online.

With AT&T now offering an unlimited plan for all of its customers, all of the major carriers in the United States have unlimited data plans available, which is impressive because for the last several years, carriers like AT&T and Verizon have been heavily focused on eliminating their unlimited customers.

Sprint and T-Mobile have offered unlimited data plans since August, and T-Mobile's growing popularity and regular feature additions at an affordable price appears to have inspired AT&T and Verizon to re-adopt unlimited plans.

Verizon announced its unlimited plan earlier this week with inclusions like 10GB of tethering data and HD video streaming, spurring T-Mobile to implement similar changes. With T-Mobile's new tethering offerings and higher-quality video streaming, it continues to offer the best value at $70 per month for a single subscriber (Verizon's plan is $80). Sprint's plan is priced at $55 per month, but its coverage can't compete with T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, and AT&T's plan is the most expensive of the four at $100 for a single line.

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AT&T Shuts Down 2G Network and Ends Cellular Connectivity for Original iPhone

AT&T yesterday announced that its 2G wireless network was officially shut down on January 1, 2017, following four years of planning for its discontinuation.

As The Verge points out, the end of the 2G network means the original first-generation iPhone (also known as the iPhone 2G) will no longer receive cellular service from the AT&T network, effectively shutting it down.

Few people appear to have been using the original iPhone as there were no complaints from iPhone owners two weeks ago when the network was shuttered, but going forward, customers who keep the device as part of a collection will only be able to use it on WiFi.

iphone.jpg
Originally released in June of 2007 and discontinued in 2008, the first iPhone was made obsolete by Apple back in 2013, and it has not received software updates since the 2009 release of iPhone OS 3, later renamed iOS 3.

While the end of the 2G network seems to have had little impact on iPhone owners, it did manage to cause significant issues for the San Francisco Muni bus and train system. NextMuni, used to predict arrival times of buses and trains, ran on AT&T's 2G network. Muni vehicles without upgraded systems installed don't show up on NextMuni, a problem that the San Francisco transit agency believes could take weeks to solve.

According to AT&T, shutting down its 2G network frees up valuable spectrum for future network technologies, including 5G. AT&T says the spectrum will be repurposed for LTE.

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AT&T Again Raising Price of Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans

AT&TStarting in March of 2017, AT&T will raise the prices of its grandfathered unlimited data plans by $5, according to information obtained by DSLReports. The price hike is AT&T's second price increase in the last 12 months and will raise prices from $35 to $40.

DSLReports forum users began receiving notifications about the $5 price increase in early January, and the site was able to confirm AT&T's plans. AT&T's statement on the new pricing is below:
Our Mobile Share Advantage plans and our AT&T Unlimited Plan provide several benefits that our legacy unlimited plan doesn't. If you have a legacy unlimited data plan, you can keep it; however, beginning in March 2017, it will increase by $5 per month.
AT&T no longer offers standalone unlimited data plans to customers, but a small number of people continue to hold onto unlimited data plans that were purchased before AT&T discontinued them in 2010. Those plans allow customers to use an unlimited amount of data, but throttling does occur with excessive data usage.

AT&T previously raised prices for its unlimited data customers in February of 2016, increasing data plan costs from $30 to $35. AT&T's data plan costs are charged in addition to voice and text plan costs for unlimited customers, putting the minimum price on an unlimited data plan with text and voice (not unlimited) in the neighborhood of $90.

Over the course of the last several years, AT&T has used price hikes, data caps, and throttling to attempt to get its grandfathered unlimited customers to switch to new plans. In 2014, the FTC launched a federal court complaint against AT&T for its throttling practices, which led AT&T to scale them back.

At the beginning of 2016, AT&T reintroduced $100 unlimited data plans but limited them to AT&T users who subscribe to an AT&T DirecTV or AT&T U-Verse plan.

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AT&T Debuts ‘Call Protect’ Service to Protect Against Robocalls

AT&T today announced Call Protect, a complementary service aimed at protecting its users from automated phone calls, also referred to as robocalls. The service debuts five months after the U.S. Federal Communications asked wireless companies to offer free robocall blocking services.

callprotect
The service offers two solutions to stop robocalls. It can automatically block numbers suspected of fraud at the network level, preventing them from reaching your phone entirely, or it can deliver the call from a suspected number with a fraud warning on the display. The latter feature requires the user to be in an area with HD Voice support.

AT&T customers can activate the feature via their MyAT&T account or by downloading the AT&T Call Protect app. The app allows users to look at call details, receive spam warnings, block specific numbers and turn on and off Automatic Fraud Blocking.

The service requires an iOS or Android smartphone eligible for HD Voice. AT&T also warns that automatic blocking may block wanted phone calls, which means users would potentially have to manually whitelist certain numbers to make sure they aren't blocked.

In August, it was reported that Apple was one of over 30 companies that joined the "Robocall Strike Force," a join effort aimed at stopping robocalls. At the time, the FCC said that most of the complaints it receives are regarding robocalls. The U.S. has other measures in place to prevent robocalls, including companies having to ask permission before calling and allowing people to add their number to the FTC's Do Not Call list.

AT&T Call Protect is available on the App Store for free [Direct Link]

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