AT&T subscribers clinging to their grandfathered unlimited data plans face yet another price increase, with the carrier slapping on an extra monthly charge. The plans, which offered legitimately unlimited data rather than the capped allowances currently offered, haven’t been available for new AT&T customers for some years now. However, that hasn’t stopped existing users from refusing to give them up.
In turn, AT&T has tried to coax, cajole, and pressure those subscribers – who can be some of the heaviest users of its cellular network – to switch to a new plan. The latest effort there is a $5 per month increase on the cost of each subscription as of March this year. “If you have a legacy unlimited data plan, you can keep it,” an AT&T spokesperson told Ars Technica, “however, beginning in March 2017, it will increase by $5 per month.”
The last increase happened roughly a year ago. Then, AT&T added $5/mo onto its original $30/mo pricing; the plans themselves are solely for data, and require voice and texting to be added on top. It’s unclear how many people were swayed by that increase onto a newer data plan.
AT&T’s price rise isn’t the only bad news heavy users have faced this week, mind. Yesterday, Verizon Wireless told its most data-hungry subscribers that their “unlimited” plans were, in fact, limited. That cap hits at 200 GB per month the carrier explained, an increase from the 100 GB announced last year. It seems such customers aren’t ones Verizon is especially eager to keep, either: it has suggested that those unhappy with the news are free to explore other plans with rival carriers.
It’s another example of how tricky shedding unusually heavy subscribers is difficult for networks. Some have turned to the depths of contract small-print to try to shake them loose, like AT&T back in 2011 threatening to cut the cord – metaphorically – on anybody discovered using a jailbreak to unofficially tether with their iPhone. It later began throttling heavy users on the grandfathered plans.
Those efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by regulators, mind. In 2015, the FCC levied a $100m fine against AT&T for throttling on unlimited plans, indeed. For now, the plans are probably still worth the money for those keeping hold of them – exactly how many people remain subscribers is uncertain – though AT&T is well within its rights to keep raising its prices in the meantime.
VIA Ars Technica