Unlimited mobile data plans are becoming quite the precious commodity these days. While T-Mobile and Sprint still have unlimited offerings, both AT&T and Verizon have chosen to remove such options.
The lucky few that already had unlimited plans have been allowed to keep them, thanks to the fact that the plans are grandfathered in. What about when you upgrade from a 3G device to an LTE-enabled handset or tablet? That’s where it all starts to get a bit fuzzy.
Verizon’s approach is that they will allow you to keep your grandfathered unlimited plan, but only if you buy your smartphone flat-out without contract subsidizing. Considering high-end phones can run $500+, this can be a pretty expensive ordeal.
As for AT&T, it seems that they have recently confirmed that users will be able to upgrade to the iPhone 5 without having to give up their grandfathered plans. Here is the exact wording from AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega:
We offer customers the flexibility to keep the iPhone data plans they already have or choose any of our individual or new Mobile Share plans. We’re proud that more customers choose AT&T for iPhone than any other U.S. carrier and look forward to making iPhone 5 the newest addition to our lineup.
AT&T’s statement pretty much guarantees that iPhone 5 will work with your existing unlimited plan. Moreover, the wording doesn’t indicate any extra charge.
What about Android users? Can they do the same thing? I did a little research on the AT&T forums in order to figure that out.
It seems that many AT&T Android users have had success in the past with upgrading to a new LTE device without giving up their plans – so this isn’t just an “iPhone 5 only” deal. The only catch is that a supervisor might have to be the one to add the change, but that’s not really a big deal or hassle, from the sounds of it.
Keep in mind that the unlimited AT&T data plan isn’t truly unlimited. Instead, they give you 5GB with your LTE grandfathered plan, afterwards you can keep using data but at a dramatically reduced speed.
Any Android Authority readers out there use a grandfathered unlimited AT&T data plan? Have you upgraded to LTE, or are you considering it?