AT&T adds extravagant new shared-data plans, data-only options
If you want a massive mobile data plan and don't mind paying gobs of money for it, AT&T is now happy to oblige.
The carrier just added three new tiers for its Mobile Share plans, which allow users to share a single pool of data across several devices. Subscribers can now get 30GB per month for $300, 40GB per month for $400, and 50GB per month for $500.
At these tiers, AT&T also adds a per-device charge of $30 per month for each smartphone, $10 per month for tablets and gaming devices, and $20 per month for each laptop or USB data sticks.
Streaming video through services like Netflix is one example of where you might engage in heavy use, especially with data use skyrocketing over LTE. Although if you're dropping $300 per month on a bad Netflix habit, that's a problem.
AT&T appears to be pitching the new plans as options for small businesses, although large families who can afford the luxury of heavy data use might need these higher tiers as well.
Previously, AT&T's top tier was 20GB for $200 per month. Exceeding the limit meant paying a $15 per gigabyte overage charge so, while the new plans seem expensive, they do offer a savings to users and businesses that need large amounts of data. (Of course, this will be of little consolation to customers who previously enjoyed unlimited data, but who now run into speed limits when using more than 3GB of data per month.)
Other types of data-sharing plans
In addition to the new higher tiers, AT&T also announced data-only Mobile Share plans for users who don't want smartphone service. These plans start at $30 per month for 4GB of data, plus $10 per tablet or gaming device, and $20 per laptop or USB data stick.
AT&T and Verizon launched their respective shared-data plans last year. Both carriers include unlimited talk and text in these plans, as well as mobile hotspot use on smartphones at no extra charge.
The main difference between the two plans is that AT&T charges increasingly lower rates per phone as you move up to higher data packages, while Verizon charges less for the actual data on higher tiers. Also, AT&T still offers individual plans for new customers, while Verizon requires all new subscribers to get shared data plans.