AT&T's new shared data plan saves money, but not for everyone

Following Verizon's lead, AT&T offers a new shared data plan. Now, customers can have one bill for multiple devices. 

Keith Bedford/Reuters
AT&T customers can now share a single monthly bill across up to 10 devices. Pictured, a woman talks on her phone as she lies out in the sun in New York's Bryant Park July 6, 2012.

AT&T has followed in Verizon’s footsteps by offering a shared data plan called “Mobile Share,” in which a single monthly fee will allow subscribers to share their plans with up to 10 devices, the company said Wednesday.

Mobile Share allows unlimited calling, messaging, and tethering, as well as use of AT&T’s 30,000 Wi-Fi hot spots. Users build plans off their smart phones, and can add tablets, laptops, netbooks, game consoles, and even external broadband cards.

Subscribers first choose their monthly data amount – one, four, six, 10, 15, or 20 gigabytes – and add additional smart phones and other devices, which run from $10 to $45 each, depending on the type of device and the amount of data included.

AT&T will send plan-holders notices when they approach their monthly data limits, as well as provide a site to check such information. Alternatively, users can use the AT&T mobile app or dial a number to check on their limits.

However, Mobile Share may prove expensive for those looking to adopt this new plan. As Reuters points out, three gigabytes of data current costs $30. Under the new plan, one gigabyte of data will cost $40.

The only way to retain the current per-gigabyte price is to buy a plan with 20 GB per month.

Verizon unveiled its “Share Everything” plan on June 28. PC World broke down the two plans’ prices and found them to be roughly equivalent. Low-data users will pay slightly less with AT&T’s Mobile Share, and those with greater data demands will pay slightly less with Verizon’s “Share Everything.”

For now, AT&T is keeping its other plans on the menu. Verizon requires users to shift to the new program.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.