Can less be more affordable? Thanks to AT&T's new "improved" pricing policy, iPad, iPhone and other smartphone customers will no longer be able to buy "unlimited" data for $30 a month. Instead, users can now buy 200MB of data for $15 per month or 2GB for $25 for more data-hungry clientele. Critics say AT&T is simply shifting the pressures of their "mediocre" service onto its customers, but some tech bloggers claim the changes are a genuine improvement. Who's right? (Watch an AP report about AT&T's new data plan)
No improvements here: This change is "cynical" and "evil," says Jeff Jarvis in Buzz Machine. Rather than fix its failing infrastructure and "invest in better ways to handle more customers," AT&T simply changed its pricing "to make us use its service less." Of course, AT&T is presenting this as a cost saving, "but in truth, they lowered the value" of their service.
"AT&T's cynical act"
Customers will save money: "We're definitely mourning the death of unlimited data," says Chris Zeigler in Engadget, but mostly because "unlimited" just sounds good. Since 98 percent of customers use less than 2GB per month, "nearly all users ultimately stand to see a $5 reduction in their monthly bills." And besides, "the plans will feature automatic text and email alerts at 65, 90, and 100 percent usage of your monthly allowance," so it should be "easy" to make sure "you don't break the bank."
"AT&T makes sweeping changes to data plans, iPhone tethering coming at OS 4 launch"
...but customers will still gripe: Whether AT&T offers alerts or not, says Sam Diaz in ZDNet, AT&T has thrown "confusion back into the mobile business" by restricting customers' data usage. An unlimited plan gives users the "peace of mind" to use their phones without the threat of "surprise charges" appearing on their monthly bill. Don't expect people to stop maligning AT&T.
"AT&T's data plan pricing: Bringing confusion back into the game"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 10 things you need to know today: October 21, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Paul Krugman, Amazon, and the left's backwards view of book-industry titans
Subscribe to the Week