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AT&T drops bombshell on America, makes Rogers and Bell iPad data plans seem like greatest deals ever

June 2, 2010

You should head on over to Engadget for all the details, but if you want the abridged version, here it is: AT&T is stopping the awesome $29.99 unlimited data iPad plan Steve Jobs heralded at the iPad unveiling and replacing it with a new $25 for 2GB of data package. Current subscribers get to keep the old plan, but everyone else gets the shaft. The move now makes Rogers and Bell, who offer 5GB of data for $35 in this country, seem like veritable deals.

The move, which comes just one month after the iPad 3G’s American launch, is being spun by AT&T as “making mobile internet affordable to more people.” This PR line is complete nonsense. Anyone who has been using an iPad knows that it eats up data, and this move pretty much acknowledges that AT&T completely underestimated iPad data consumption.

Let’s hope this shocking development at AT$T AT&T does not give Canada’s wireless CEOs any crazy ideas. By the way, my take on the iPad data plans offered by Bell, Rogers, & Telus is here.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2010 1:38 PM

    Hey Elias – really enjoy reading your blog. Just wondering: what do you make of John Gruber’s take on this? http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/06/02/att-tethering

    He seems a lot less critical of this move, especially since AT&T’s overage fees seem to have become a bit more reasonable.

    • eliasmakos permalink*
      June 2, 2010 1:54 PM

      Gruber is talking about the iPhone, which is getting the same price changes. My iPhone usage mirrors his, I average about 300-400MB a month on my iPhone, and I currently use a Rogers iPhone data value pack that includes 500MB a month. I have WiFi pretty much everywhere I spend long periods of time (Except when I go to the CTV studios, they don’t have a wireless network!) so probably the most data-intensive stuff I do on it is stream radio while I walk my dog.

      The iPad however is a completely different beast. Watching 15 minutes of streaming video on the iPad can use 200MB of data. YouTube and AirVideo are two apps on my iPad that would go through 2GB in an afternoon.

      These changes will do two things. Make people spend more on their iPad plans as it is very easy to pass the 2GB cap. Even if you go over by just 1GB, you’d pay $35 a month, $5 more than the old $30 unlimited plan. And it also cripples the iPad, as users will now have to watch their usage, taking the fun out of product that touts that it allows you to take the internet everywhere.

      AT&T is trying to pull the wool over people eyes by emphasizing iPhone statistics that show that most people don’t go over 2GB. The iPad is not the iPhone.

      • June 2, 2010 1:59 PM

        Whoa, you’re totally right. Don’t know how I could’ve missed that.

        I agree with you: let’s hope the Canadian telcos don’t move in the same direction.

        Thanks for the response.

        Weird that CTV Montreal doesn’t have a wireless network, though. The studios here in Scarborough do, though the side effect is that you’d be working in Scarborough.

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