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?
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I’ve had an AT&T unlimited data plan since the old media net days and I have managed to keep it. It was converted from media net to unlimited data for my first Android phone and I expect to keep it when I move to a Note 2 later this year. If not, I will go somewhere else.
Me too! I had a media net account and still benefit. I’m wondering if people have had more or less success at third parties instead of the AT&T store. Walmart has a rebate and i’d like to stack it with my upgarde discount, while keeping my unlimited data. Thoughts?
You were able to switch from mediaNET to Unlimited after the Unlimited data plans were discontinued? Please let me know how!
iPhone 5 in every article, wasn’t this an Android site?
LTE baby since GS3 Came out unlimited data plan love it. The way I got greatfathered it called at&t if don’t give unlimited data plan I’m cancel and they gave to me lol I really lucky
LTE BABY since GS3 Came out unlimited data plan love it. The way I got greatfathered in. I called at&t i told them if you can’t give me unlimited data plan I’m cancel my plan and they gave it to me I got lucky!
@Andrew Grush: Your article neglected one itsy bitsy little detail: AT&T already stated that facetime will not be allowed UNLESS the subscriber takes on one of the new shared plans.
Yeah, well…Even tho I am in another business, I have contacts at Verizon that I will use on occasion. As great as I believe these folks (and other Level 2 Customer Support) are, there seems to be no way around the “upgrade” situation. If you upgrade your device (a “subsidized” upgrade), it is considered a change to your plan. If you currently have unlimited data, you will lose it. I have had waived the $30 new upgrade fee, but I have not chosen to upgrade. So, I will have to live with my Thunderbolt and it’s imaginary ICS upgrade, or find a phone on eBay, or similar, to purchase outright.
I have discussed this with the Verizon contacts and tons of other folks and we all are saying the same thing. This new directive from Verizon is simply going to make the really smart people hang on to their phones longer, and force them to buy their phones outright. I see this eventually hurting the industry, but others do not necessarily agree.
I would hope that Verizon would look at this and find other ways, other than a device upgrade, to make changes in people’s data packages.
i had no issues maintaining my unlimited data plan w at&t when i handed them back apple iphone 4S for Galaxy SII Skyrocket.
Same here moved fron iPhone 3GS to SII Skyrocket early this year; they gave me a new LTE sim card no questions asked.
Loving it :)
I upgraded from an iphone 4 (3g) to a htc one x (4g LTE) and was able to keep my unlimted plan with AT&T
I upgraded to a Galaxy S3 and still had an old Unlimited Data/Text for $30 plan. I was allowed to keep the unlimited data but lost the text portion.
I have LTE on my unlimited data plan. Had it since November last year when I got my GS2 Skyrocket. It’s awesome!
so you just thought you had a free phone plan? If you don’t have online access to your account, then your living in the Stone Age. How many months of free service did you think you’d get? Customer idiocy at its best.
Your idiocy at its best. Just because he never payed didn’t mean he thought it was free. It means he waited for a bill that never came, so he never knew how much to pay. Lots of people still like to get a bill in the mail as it’s a good way to remember that you have that bill to still be paid. Not having online access to the account and not knowing that you now have to use that access to pay your bill are two different things.
Try to think about the stupid things you are planning to say before just posting them.