AT&T Brings Back Unlimited Data Plan: What to Know

This year has already seen Verizon launch an eye-catching campaign about getting hundreds of dollars, and now we have AT&T bringing back its unlimited data plan with plenty of marketing fanfare.

The unlimited cell phone plans were originally ditched years ago in 2010 because AT&T saw no future in offering services that were becoming both less profitable and more popular among consumers. It was not, in foresight or hindsight, a popular move, but it was understandable (Verizon did a similar thing with its cell phone plans).

Like Verizon, AT&T is trying to do several things with this big data plan deal, which is hiding several caveats. First, let’s talk about DirecTV: AT&T bought the TV company in 2015, and is working to make it a more specialized service that brings in revenue through extras and connected offerings. You can see where this is going: To even sign up for AT&Ts unlimited data plan, you need to be both a subscriber of DirecTV and of AT&Ts higher-tier U-Verse package. Otherwise, no dice.

AT&T Unlimited Deal
This new data plan gives you unlimited data…but unlimited mostly means 22GBs.

If you meet the qualifications, you can pay for unlimited data for a single mobile phone line to the tune of $100 per month, with $40 for every phone after that. If you are a long-term AT&T customer and are still paying peanuts for the old unlimited plan…well, your prices are about to go up too, because AT&T is getting tired of you sapping all their data on your new, hungry smartphone.

Of course, to those who really care about unlimited data, the real question isn’t data caps but data hijinks. Will AT&T’s new data plan deal be truly unlimited, or will it involve slowdowns? Haha…yes, of course there will be slowdowns: Go beyond 22 GBs in a single month, and you will get hit with major cuts in data speeds – the same is true of areas that are experiencing particularly heavy data demand, in which case AT&T can slow down everyone’s connection to try to lighten the overall load. Is 22GBs still worth the price?

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Tyler Lacoma

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.

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