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AT&T to offer shared data plan in the coming months

May 9, 2012

After hearing about arch-rival Verizon’s plans to come up with a new data plan, AT&T is planning to release its own take of a family data plan for people who want to share their data connection across multiple devices. The move was confirmed by AT&T mobile business CEO, Ralph de La Vega, during an interview with CNET.

De la Vega said that the company is very comfortable with the plan that they will be offering soon to customers and are confident about how the family data plan would be structured. Though details about the type of plan, pricing and availability are still being discussed internally, it is likely AT&T will try to roll it out before Verizon does – which apparently, is sometime by the middle of the year.

AT&T’s current data plans range from a monthly quota of 250MB to 5GB; with the cheapest plan starting from $14.99 all the way to $50 per month – excluding any overages. Seeing that the $20 monthly data plan only offers 300MB, most customers are likely to choose the $30 plan for 3GB, as it represents the best bang for buck. For a family that has a couple of gadgets lying around in the house, this means the bills can easily amount to some ridiculous numbers. It doesn’t help by the fact that AT&T only allows tethering for those on a 5GB data plan.

According to rumors, Verizon’s plan for the family data plan involves customers paying one base charge with each additional device added to the plan being charged $10. We’ll just have to wait and see how AT&T will structure its new plan. As for other carriers in the country, T-Mobile has said that it’s not interested in changing its current data plans. So. this leaves Sprint as the only major carrier to offer a shared data plan, which starts at $129.99 per month. With data plans becoming the latest cash cow for many carriers,  the competition is only going to get more intense.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel you are paying too much for data? Too little? Ok, no seriously — what is a fair price for data, and how should it be structured? Imagine being a father, with two kids, and a wife. You all have smartphones, you all have tablets, and you all want them connected. How should it work? What’s a fair price? Roll over data, anyone?