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AT&T makes its shared-data plans official with Mobile Share

Consumer Reports News: July 18, 2012 10:38 AM

A little over a month after competitor Verizon Wireless unveiled its Share Everything data plans, AT&T has announced its own version: AT&T Mobile Share. Unlike Verizon, which is offering only Share Everything to new customers, newcomers to AT&T will still have the option of choosing an existing individual or family plan. And current customers can switch over to a sharing plan without extending their contracts, if they choose.

Mobile Share, to be available in late August, lets customers add up to 10 smart devices (one must be a smart phone) to a plan, all of which will share a "bucket" of data, says the company. Tethering (using an applicable smart device as a modem) and unlimited domestic talk and text are also included.

You can choose a data amount from 1GB to 20GB, at prices ranging from $40 to $200 a month, and additional data is $15 per gigabyte. (AT&T reassures consumers that they'll receive overage alerts when they approach the limits of their plans.)

"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" says AT&T: $45 for each smart phone at the 1GB level down to $30 per smart phone at the 20GB level. There's an additional charge per each device you add to your plan, depending on the type, ranging from $10 to $45.

In comparison, Verizon's Share Everything rates begin at $50 a month for 1GB of data and go up to $100 a month for 10GB. You add $40 a month for each smart phone on the plan, $30 for each basic phone, $20 per mobile hotspot, and $10 per tablet.

For now, our advice for low- or moderate-data users who have AT&T is to stick to an individual plan; the shared plan looks more practical for individuals or families with numerous devices, though costs could climb quickly as you add more data.

If you're shopping around for a new carrier or a new phone, check our Ratings at ConsumerReports.org.

Source:
Introducing AT&T Mobile Share

Related:
Verizon announces Share Everything data-only billing plan
Would all-data mobile-phone bills be a consumer boon?

Carol Mangis

   

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