Well, it is circulating the web pretty heavy. AT&T is changing their unlimited data plans to “cheaper” limited data plans. What does this mean for AT&T customers, and will competing providers follow suit? How will this effect AT&T and Apple? Is this a good idea at all?
First off, what this means for AT&T customers depends on what services you use, and what type of phone you have. For those with standard non-data intensive phones on the AT&T network, this really doesn’t mean much. Those using Blackberry’s, the iPhone, or other smartphones on the AT&T network will, and have, take(n) notice. This is a bit of a surprise move on AT&T with the sudden popularity of the Apple iPad. It puts a huge hindrance on its usage on users that looked forward to having a new device to use anywhere and everywhere. Devices like these push and pull a lot of data, especially when media is involved.
Will companies like Verizon follow suit with this? Hard to say, but it would be a great marketing promotion to announce “Unlimited Data Usage” in comparison to AT&T. It would create a huge draw to customers sick of poor 3G coverage, poor customer support, and now limited data usage. Verizon wouldn’t even need to alter their pricing to make it enticing, but if they decided to slightly lower it for new customers, it would create a surge of new users. It may even create a lure for Apple to jump AT&T’s leaky ship to Verizon.
Speaking Apple, this is a huge issue for them. Steve Jobs really pushed the deal about AT&T’s data plans for the iPad. People may reconsider a 3G enabled iPad if they have to pay large amounts for maintaining constant use of their device for watching movies and streaming television on the go.
Personally, as a Verizon customer, I think this is all a great idea. It cements the notion that I am with a great company. However, this is a horrible idea for existing customers of AT&T. The company is taking advantage of their customers, and is pushing many of them out the door to competing networks. No apple in the tree will help make this problem appealing. I personally see a lot of repercussions from this action. Many of which can have financial hardships for AT&T.