AT&T to Mandate Data Plans

Beginning September 6th, AT&T will mandate subscribers who activate or upgrade to a smartphone to also pick up a data plan.

If your smartphone was purchased before September 6th, you will likely be grandfathered in and, consequently, not forced to upgrade your present plan.

“We want our customers to have the best possible experience with their smartphones,” an internal AT&T email reportedly reveals.

“A predictable bill is a key factor in customer satisfaction, so effective September 6, 2009 smartphone customers will need to subscribe to a data plan, as the vast majority of customers already do. Data plans let customers fully utilize their device, without the worry of bill shock.”

In case you’re thinking that this is just a rumor, InformationWeek claims to have secured official confirmation of the policy change at AT&T.

“The sales representative is the customer’s expert resource in helping select the right device for their needs,” the email adds. “When a customer does not want a data plan, we will position other devices in our industry leading portfolio for the customer to choose from, as many devices do not require a data plan.”