AT&T Drops Unlimited Data Plans

While some may have seen the move coming, others are stunned today by AT&T’s announcement that the carrier will stop offering unlimited data plans for 3G users, including iPhones and iPads.

Ironically, the conclusion of the unlimited plan will set in June 7th, the very occasion that Apple chief Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the new 4th generation iPhone at the company’s WWDC.

On Wednesday morning, however, AT&T began a mad dash to squelch erroneous reports that the end of the unlimited data plan would effect current subscribers. It will not – at least not for now. New AT&T customers – and new customers only – now have to select between plans capped at 200MB or 2GB.

Due to the enormous data-demands of 3G customers and iPhone users, in particular, AT&T made the choice ahead of another likely Apple product introduction that could only serve to add further stress to the carrier’s already burdened network. The 4th generation iPhone, after all, is expected to introduce a video conferencing functionality – a feature that could push AT&T’s data capacity over the limit without some form of capped data plan in place.

Details of AT&T’s new data plans:

  • DataPlus: 200MB cap @ $15 per month. If you exceed the limit, you will receive an additional 200MB of data for $15. According to AT&T, however, 65% of smartphone customers use less than 200MB monthly.
  • DataPro: 2GB cap @ $25 per month. 1GB of additional data is available for $10.
  • Tethering: Available through the DataPro plan (requires iPhone OS 4) for an additional $20 monthly.