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AT&T has followed the lead of Verizon Wireless by introducing Shared data plans. Many of the features of the plans are similar to Verizon Wireless’ plans, however AT&T does offer some additional options with their plans.

The idea behind shared data plans is to allow families the flexibility of grouping data across multiple smartphones, laptops, tablets, and gaming devices in lieu of having to pay for individual data plans for each device.

All of AT&T’s shared data plans include unlimited talk and unlimited text. You can have up to 10 devices per shared data plan. You can also have multiple shared data plans one one account, which is a nice perk.

There are some caveats with the shared data plans. There must be one smartphone on the plan. The cost of the data plans can seem a bit high. Prices start at $40 for 1GB of shared data, plus $45 for each smartphone. The options for the amount of shared data is as follows: 1GB, 4GB, 6GB, 10GB, 15GB and 20GB. The cost for each is $40, $70, $90, $120, $160, and $200.

The data plans also require a monthly fee for each smartphone, basic or messaging phone, laptop, and tablet or gaming device. The cost for a Basic of messaging phone is $30. The cost for a laptop (or netbook) is $20 per month, and Tablets and gaming devices are $10. This is per device, per month. If you go over, each additional GB is $15.

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There is one big change with AT&T’s plans versus Verizon’s plans. You are not REQUIRED to go with shared data. If it makes more sense, you can stick with individual data plans for each device.

The minimum monthly cost for a shared-data plan is $85 for one smartphone, but this does include unlimited talk and texting. The minimum cost for an individual account with Unlimited talk and text, with 3GB of data is $119.99 per month. If you were to upgrade to the 4GB plan, It would be $110, which is still cheaper than $119 per month.

For a certain segment of the population, this makes complete sense. It would depend on whether or not you pay for tethering and hotspot right now. It if you, this could save you a bunch of money on your monthly bill. Plans should be available starting in Late August.

Overall, I do not think there will be any real savings for some users. However, if you have a lot of Tablets or gaming devices that each have their own data plan, this may be your best bet overall.

You can read all about the shared data plan options by reading AT&T’s press release (below).[showhide type="pressrelease"]AT&T* customers will soon have more options in choosing the plan that’s right for them and their mobile devices. With new AT&T Mobile Share plans, available in late August, new and existing customers can share a single bucket of data across smartphones, tablets, and other compatible devices, plus get unlimited talk and text. AT&T Mobile Share plans make it easy for customers to manage their data, voice minutes and texting, without needing to keep track of multiple plans.

Customers can select one of the new shared data plans or choose one of AT&T’s existing individual or family plans. Current customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension. There are no changes to AT&T’s device upgrade policy, which means customers eligible to upgrade to AT&T’s best device price are not required to switch plans. The new plans will also be available for business customers.

With AT&T Mobile Share plans, customers start by choosing how much data they want each month, then choose up to 10 devices to attach to their shared plan, one of which must be a smartphone. Each plan includes tethering and unlimited domestic calls and texts for smartphones and basic or quick messaging phones. The larger the data bucket you choose, the less you pay per gigabyte and the less you pay for each smartphone added to the shared plan.

AT&T Mobile Share allows customers to essentially build a plan to fit their devices and usage. Customers who are more data-centric can choose a larger data bucket. Customers who typically use more voice than data can add multiple smartphones and basic phones and opt for a smaller data bucket.
“We offer customers a broad choice and the best lineup of plans, now enhanced by Mobile Share,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. “With these new plans, the more you share, the more you save. They’ll be a good fit for a variety of new and existing customers. But if customers want to stay on their current plan or choose from our existing plans, they can do that, too. It’s their choice.

“Today we think of people’s smartphones and tablets sharing a bucket of data. But in the future we’ll see health care monitors, connected cars, security systems and other devices in the home all connected to the mobile Internet,” said Christopher. “Our Mobile Share plans are simple, easy and a great value for individuals or families with multiple mobile Internet devices.”

Mobile Share plans give customers more control over how, where and on what device they use data — which has become more important as people use more data devices. You can choose to use more of your data bucket on your tablet, for example, or tap into your data bucket only when needed for devices you use occasionally. And by consolidating data plans, you can take advantage of any data you currently have unused each month by efficiently sharing it across devices.

“The ‘more you share, the more you save’ concept is one that will resonate well with customers because of the value provided through the Mobile Share data plans themselves and in smartphone connection fees,” said Roger Entner, Founder and Lead Analyst of Recon Analytics. “AT&T also is providing its customers with flexibility and choice by keeping its existing data plans and not requiring customers to move to Mobile Share unless they want to. It’s a win-win for both AT&T and its customers.”

To help customers track their data usage, AT&T keeps users informed with courtesy alerts as they near their data allowance for the month. Also, customers can check their usage at anytime online, through the myAT&T mobile app, or by calling *DATA# from their mobile phone.
Each data plan also includes access to more than 30,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots — the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network** among wireless carriers — at no additional charge. Wi-Fi usage at public hotspots, home or office does not count toward the monthly wireless data plan usage.
Customers can learn more about the new plans and determine which plan is best for them at www.att.com/mobileshare.[/showhide]

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