AT&T's unveils three new 'unlimited' plans, offering up to 100GB of unthrottled data

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

We all know that "unlimited" data plans are rarely as unlimited as they seem. Many such plans will technically allow you to use as much data as you want, but with significantly-throttled speeds, if your ISP decides its network is "too congested" at any given moment. Other unlimited plans will throttle you after a certain, relatively-low amount of data -- often around 20GB -- has been used.

Whether or not this throttling is necessary is a topic for another time, but AT&T aims to mitigate the problem somewhat with its newest unlimited data plans. These plans were announced yesterday, and there are three in total: Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra, and Unlimited Elite.

Unlimited Starter is subject to the same throttling rules as its predecessor (Unlimited & More) -- you can be throttled at any point if the network is congested enough -- and nothing has changed in the quality arena (you're still limited to 720p video), but it is a bit cheaper. The Starter plan will run you $35 per line when four lines are purchased, or $65 for a single line. For reference, those prices used to be $40 and $70, respectively.

The Unlimited Extra plan is where things become a bit more reasonable for data hogs. For $75 (single line) or $40 (per line, for four lines), you now get 50GB of guaranteed data before throttling may occur. You'll also be able to enjoy 15GB of "high-speed" mobile hotspot data, but video playback is still restricted to 720p.

The Unlimited Elite is the new top offering from AT&T, and it's a bit of a doozy. It will run you a whopping $85 per month for a single line ($50/line for four lines), but that extra $10/month gives you twice as much guaranteed data, bringing the total up to 100GB before you can be throttled. Hotspot data has also been doubled to 30GB, and plan subscribers have access to 1080p video and "free" access to HBO (as well as HBO Max, starting in May 2020).

If any of these plans sound appealing to you, you'll be able to sign up for them soon. The Starter and Extra plans will both be available on November 3 (that's this Sunday), and upgraded Elite alternative is "coming soon."

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brucek

TS Maniac
Why not just call the plans "AT&T Starter" "AT&T Extra" and "AT&T Elite"?

There ought to be consequences for fraudulent service names. None of these plans are "unlimited" and calling them that is intentional deception. If there's any consumers out there who end up not wanting to pay overage charges, or cancel a contract, I hope any small claims court would find a way to let them to do so.

Edit: I have the same feelings about their similarly fake "5G" service.
 
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p51d007

TS Evangelist
What the heck are people downloading? I stream a lot of music, but that's pretty much it. And, it's very hard for me to use more than 10GB a month.
 

brucek

TS Maniac
What the heck are people downloading? I stream a lot of music, but that's pretty much it. And, it's very hard for me to use more than 10GB a month.
Video chats like FaceTime, Google Meetings, etc; intended video playback; unintended video playback like the ads that are served with web pages; large synced photo collections; and soon streamed gaming like Stadia, etc. And if you use your phone as a hotspot for your laptop or other computer, add in lots of system and app updates you might not even know about but that can add up fast.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
What the heck are people downloading? I stream a lot of music, but that's pretty much it. And, it's very hard for me to use more than 10GB a month.
With basically just HD Netflix, I use about 85GB/mo. I also have Hulu, which I don't watch anywhere near as much as Netflix, and I also do @home computing, but both of those are not significant.

By March or April of next year, I'll have a 500 Mbit fiber connection and no data limits for $50/mo so this is a non-starter for me.

I was using an MVNO, Dynami Wireless, for a while; they had both T-Mobile and AT&T options at $79/mo and $99/mo respectively. It was 4G-LTE unlimited, but sometimes I think they throttled - I was on T-mobile's network.
 

Eldritch

TS Maniac
What the heck are people downloading? I stream a lot of music, but that's pretty much it. And, it's very hard for me to use more than 10GB a month.
The thing is now everything is in cloud. Like you said you are streaming music which we used to have in our phone locally. Similarly, our entire video library (Google photos) is online and new videos are being constantly uploaded. Youtube also has a habit of switching to 1080p on even mobiles which causes pointless data consumption. Not to even talk of Netflix and Prime Video. Beyond that, the 30-40 apps (system and user) in a phone are constantly being updated to the tune that pretty much every day 5-8 apps update and it also adds up. Ohhhh... And there is constant syncing going on for mails, chrome, drive. On top of that most social media apps are criminally inefficient and by default they cache every video around the feed you are viewing.
 

R00sT3R

TS Guru
Currently my plan has unlimited 4G data,texts and minutes for $25mth where I am, with 5G coming at the end of November for only an additional $5pm.

..used 680GB last month :)
 

p51d007

TS Evangelist
Video chats like FaceTime, Google Meetings, etc; intended video playback; unintended video playback like the ads that are served with web pages; large synced photo collections; and soon streamed gaming like Stadia, etc. And if you use your phone as a hotspot for your laptop or other computer, add in lots of system and app updates you might not even know about but that can add up fast.
I run mine on a VPN that shuts down auto run video. Just looked up the stats since February, it's blocked 707,865 ads, 102,727 trackers & saved 32.24 GB of data.
I don't hotspot much....maybe once a month or so. I guess the phone is what I use the most. But, I'm considered old...SO GET OFF MY LAWN LOL.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I almost want to say hell with it and go prepaid but I'm a data hog so it just wouldn't make any sense. Man, I miss the old unlimited days (2010-2014ish)
My wife wanted a smart phone, but neither of us use data. I bought her a phone, and we went prepaid through H2O Wireless. She registered the SIM and put it into the phone, and within a few minutes, she had gone through $2.50 worth of data. So, I showed her how to turn off cell data. Prepaid is definitely not the route for even minor data usage, IMO.
 
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