AT&T's raising the prices of legacy unlimited data plans

It's not the $20 that Verizon charged, but AT&T will ask you to pay more for your grandfathered unlimited plan starting in 2016.

AT&T logo on Boston store

The AT&T logo seen on the door of the company's Boston store on Sept. 18, 2015.

Credit: Nick Barber

AT&T plans to hike the cost of its unlimited wireless data plans by $5 in February 2016. This will be the first price change for AT&T’s unlimited plans in about seven years, rising from $30 to $35 per month. AT&T gave up on unlimited plans in 2012 back when 3G was king but many users are still holding on to their juicy contracts and refuse to let them go.

“Consumers and businesses are using mobile data at record levels and the trend is expected to continue,” AT&T said on its support page announcing the price hike. “To help ensure we continue to provide the best service for all of our customers, a small price increase is being made at this time.”

AT&T says anyone who doesn’t like the price increase will be able to cancel their contract without incurring any early termination fees if they do so within 60 days after the price hike first shows up on their bill.

The story behind the story: For an offering that hasn’t been offered to new customers for three years, AT&T’s unlimited data sure has been in the news a lot in 2015. In June, the Federal Communications Commission said it intended to fine AT&T $100 million for misleading customers by throttling data speeds for unlimited customers. Then in September, AT&T upped the throttling cap to 22GB from 5GB, which likely avoids throttling issues for all but the most extreme data users on AT&T’s networks.

Not the only one

AT&T’s price hike follows a similar move from Verizon in October and then T-Mobile in November. Big Red tacked a whopping $20 onto its unlimited plans, upping the cost to about $50, while T-Mobile upped its price by $15 (T-Mobile’s plan includes unlimited talk and text). Both of which make AT&T’s price hike seem like a bargain.

Nevertheless, if you’re unhappy with AT&T’s price hop check out Macworld’s breakdown of what the other carriers have to offer prospective new iPhone owners.

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