Happy day for RIM: ATT announces changes to data plans; BlackBerry sales likely to benefit

By Kevin Michaluk on 2 Jun 2010 11:00 am EDT
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AT&T Wireless

* Update: Looks like my RIM HAPPY DAY slant on this AT&T news was spot on. I just received some info/quotes from RIM on today's news. Read it below. *

AT&T announced some new data plans today that are going to make a LOT of existing AT&T BlackBerry users very happy and likely also help to make BlackBerry the device brand of choice for new first-time smartphone owners. Be sure to check out the press release below for full details. AT&T customers currently on the the $30/mo fair-use unlimited plan (5GB) can choose to stay on it, but that plan is now being replaced by the new Data Plus and Data Pro plans:

  • DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data - enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), send/receive 150 emails with attachments, view 400 Web pages, post 50 photos on social media sites and 20 minutes of streaming video - for just $15 per month. This plan, which can save customers up to 20 percent off their wireless voice and data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the month. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
  • DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data - enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, view 4,000 Web pages, post 500 photos to social media sites and watch 200 minutes of streaming video - for $25 per month. Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the month. Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.

If you've been tuning into the CrackBerry Podcasts for the past five months (including our WES 2010 podcast with BGR/Phonescoop), we've been making our prediction for a long time now on RIM's biggest opportunity to continue selling smartphones and signing up new customers by the gabillions, and that opportunity is the return of tiered pricing to data plans. It was inevitable that a carrier would at some point have to offer this type of plan. It's been unfair for a while now. AT&T Wireless indicated that 65% of its users consume less than 200MB per month -- the BlackBerry users out there! -- yet historically they have been paying the same data rate as the bandwith hogs (iPhone users).

Effectively, BlackBerry users have been subsidizing iPhone users bandwidth demands over the past few years. Now finally, with a dataplan like this, RIM can start to really boast and market the benefits of BlackBerry efficiency.  Previously, the "looming data crunch" argument seemed a bit like an excuse for RIM to cover up some of the areas where it was lagging behind the competition. But with RIM fixing up it's gaps, for example with the new WebKit browser which will be fast AND use 3x less data than the competition for rendering the same page as we were told by AT&T Mobility's President and CEO back at CTIA 2010, RIM will be able to deliver customers with a great all around smartphone user experience that costs less to use on a monthly basis as compared to some of the more data heavy devices. The "average" BlackBerry user (which may not be you if you're reading CrackBerry on a daily basis!) should be able to get away with AT&T's $15/mo. plan.

Back at WES 2010, RIM's CEO made the very valid point that the smartphone market is seeing the shift now from the early adopter to the early majority. For the early majority/majority, PRICE matters. If it didn't, the whole world would already be using smartphones - yet on a worldwide basis the majority are still on crappy feature phones. Over the next few years, as the laggers upgrade their mobile devices and for the first time seek out a mobile device that requires a data plan, the device that can deliver a compelling experience will be one that is attractive to the customer. With AT&T's announcement today, and the odds looking good you'll start to see this type of tiered pricing in a lot of markets, the BlackBerry solution should be very compelling as the smartphone market continues to grow. RIM may lag behind the competition in some hardware/software specs, but as they continue to advance the platform (BlackBerry 6 coming w/ WebKit browser, etc.) it'll more than meet the demands of these consumers at a more affordable price. BlackBerry "power users" may not see the benefit of this type of plan quite a much as the more casual user (200MB might not quite do the trick - though if you're always maximizing the amount of time you spend on WiFi you might be able to bring it down into that 200MB range fairly easily), but a high % definitely will.

If you'r reading this article and you're thinking "Kevin's on the BlackBerry Kool-Aid," you need to a) go listen to some CrackBerry Podcasts and you'll realize that's not the case and b) also realize that what I'm saying here is what I believe is RIM's strategic position going forward. The biggest market opportunity for smartphone sales is not necessarily battling at the top of the market for what the early adopters/techies are getting woodies over, but rather the mass market where people yet to own a smartphone. It's a bit of a scary play, but it can work. RIM will always have to keep innovating in order to maintain the strong brand reputation they have enjoyed to date -- they need to be perceived as a leader in technology and not as a low cost solution if they want to maintain their brand equity -- but thanks to plans like this "being efficient" will finally has a sexy sound to it.

Press Release

AT&T ANNOUNCES NEW LOWER-PRICED WIRELESS DATA PLANS TO MAKE MOBILE INTERNET MORE AFFORDABLE TO MORE PEOPLE

DALLAS, June 2, 2010 - AT&T*, the U.S. smartphone leader, today introduced new wireless data plans that make it more affordable for more people to enjoy the benefits of the mobile Internet. Customers can pick the new data plan that best meets their needs - either a $15 per month entry plan or a $25 per month plan with 10 times more data. Current smartphone customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension.

"AT&T helps mobilize everything on the Internet - your favorite web sites, TV shows, music, games and social networks. Virtually everything previously done while sitting at a computer can now be done on the go," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "To give more people the opportunity to experience these benefits, we're breaking free from the traditional 'one-size-fits-all' pricing model and making the mobile Internet more affordable to a greater number of people."

Each plan includes unlimited access at no additional charge to more than 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots in the U.S. Customers can also use unlimited Wi-Fi at home, in the office or elsewhere if available. AT&T will also help customers manage their wireless data usage by sending free text messages when customers reach different usage intervals, and by providing online tools, including a smartphone app that shows monthly usage information.

The new wireless data plans - including a new tethering option - will be available beginning June 7. Current AT&T voice and texting plans are unchanged.

More Choice

The new AT&T plans provide large amounts of data to enable people to enjoy their favorite online activities:

* DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data - enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), send/receive 150 emails with attachments, view 400 Web pages, post 50 photos on social media sites and 20 minutes of streaming video - for just $15 per month. This plan, which can save customers up to 20 percent off their wireless voice and data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the month. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.

* DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data - enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, view 4,000 Web pages, post 500 photos to social media sites and watch 200 minutes of streaming video - for $25 per month. Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the month. Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.

* Tethering. Smartphone customers - including iPhone customers - who choose the DataPro plan have the option to add tethering for an additional $20 per month. Tethering enables customers to use their smartphone as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks or other computing devices. Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases OS 4.0 this summer.

With the new wireless data plans, pricing for a smartphone voice and data bundle now starts at just $54.99 per month for an individual plan, or $24.99 per month for an additional line on a FamilyTalk plan, $15 per month less than the price of the previous entry level bundle.

For new iPad customers, the $25 per month 2 GB plan will replace the existing $29.99 unlimited plan. iPad customers will continue to pre-pay for their wireless data plan and no contract is required. Existing iPad customers who have the $29.99 per month unlimited plan can keep that plan or switch to the new $25 per month plan with 2 GB of data.

Wi-Fi at 20,000 AT&T Hot Spots
The vast majority of smartphones that AT&T offers have built-in Wi-Fi, which lets the devices automatically switch from the wireless network to a Wi-Fi hotspot without prompting, making Wi-Fi even more convenient and easy to use. This enables customers to use Wi-Fi in the home, office and at public locations where available. Using Wi-Fi does not count against a customer's monthly data plan usage total. In addition, virtually all AT&T smartphone customers have access at no additional charge to more than 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots at Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and other U.S. locations. Customers can get more information on how to use Wi-Fi and find the location of AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots at www.att.com/wifiaccess.

Monitoring and Managing Usage
To help customers easily check their data usage, AT&T has made the information readily available in a number of ways:

* Customer Text Notifications On Data Usage. When customers begin to approach their monthly usage limit, AT&T will send three text notifications - when they reach 65 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent of the threshold. Customers will also be sent emails if AT&T has their email address.

* Data Usage Monitoring. Additionally, customers with iPhones and other select devices can use the free AT&T myWireless application to check data usage. The application is available for download in several smartphone app stores. Also, AT&T customers can call *DATA# from their wireless phone to check their data usage for the current billing period. They receive a free text message with their usage information. Customers can also go online to www.att.com/wireless to see all their usage information, past and present.

* Data Calculator. The easy-to-use online data calculator enables customers to estimate their mobile data usage and get a better sense for which data plan is right for them. It's located at www.att.com/datacalculator.

Customers can learn more about the new plans online at www.att.com/dataplans, by contacting AT&T customer service at 1-800-331-0500, or by visiting an AT&T retail store.

AT&T expects these new data plans to have minimal revenue impact this year and to not affect previous guidance for 2010.

/end press release

RIM's Response to AT&T's new Data Plans

Great news for BlackBerry customers from AT&T this morning! AT&T announced two new pricing plans for smartphone customers based on wireless data usage - $15/month for 200MB and $25/month for 2GB.

RIM welcomes this news since these new pricing plans will translate to savings for BlackBerry customers due to the industry-leading efficiency of the BlackBerry platform. Thanks to RIM's longstanding focus on wireless data efficiency and investment in related technologies and infrastructure, the BlackBerry platform is significantly more efficient than other mobile platforms and this leads to a major advantage for users with tiered pricing plans (see attached note published by Morgan Keegan this morning).

Also, according to Consumer Reports, BlackBerry consumers use about 54 MB of (compressed/optimized) data per month on average (compared to data usage averages that are 3-5 times higher for other brands), which suggests that the large majority of BlackBerry consumers will now qualify to use the $15/month data plan.

Here's a quote from RIM's Co-CEO about AT&T's new pricing plans

"AT&T's strategic pricing move is great news for BlackBerry smartphone customers," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO, Research In Motion. "We envision a day when all mobile phones are smartphones and we believe AT&T's new service plans, together with RIM's leading portfolio of BlackBerry products and services, will help attract a much broader range of consumers."

For a more technical and detailed analysis of how the efficiency of the BlackBerry platform offers significant advantages to customers and carriers, you can also refer to recently published Rysavy Research report titled "Mobile Broadband Capacity Constraints and the Need for Optimization."


Reader comments

Happy day for RIM: ATT announces changes to data plans; BlackBerry sales likely to benefit

130 Comments

as if i needed yet another reason to leave Big Red... Verizon needs to be taking some serious notes!!!

Yes and No. They have great phones, but their service coverage isn't always the best. Side by side to my Tour on US Cellular I can out load and out service my iPhone in a lot of places. Hopefully, that's something they are working on.

If Verizon follows suit, it would be a huge problem for a lot of their customers. I like many smartphone users spend the vast amount of my time in a wifi coverage area at home and work. But, I bought my phone before Verizon belatedly adopted wifi on it's smartphones. This leaves Anyone who owns a phone released before the Storm2 open to higher data bills because of the lack of wifi. I would imagine that every ATT smartphone sold in the last 2 years has wifi, so it would be less of an issue for most customers.

I fail to see how this becomes a problem for a lot of Verizon customers. The majority of users may not go over these limits (also who is to say Verizon would not have higher limits). Those who do, would sit and stay on the current unlimited plan. So, this would only affect newcomers. What would be good is keeping the unlimited as well as these, but we can all see the writing on the wall for unlimited data.

Your iphone has one of the weakest antennas on at&t's network. This is not at&t but Apple for the lack of R&D they put into the antenna. My 9700 on at&t gets far better coverage side by side than my buddies iphone. Side by side blackberry to blackberry at&t VS VZW it is a very close match. VZW beats at&t when it comes to rural coverage and that's just a fact but otherwise they are damn close.

u need to realize that the blackberry reciever is stronger than the iphone. my att bold 9700 get 2-5 bars where the iphone gets no service (my campus).

my blackberry never dropped calls and the iphone does. so its not about service provider anymore, its the phone

Ha I haven't dropped but one call all week on at&t. I would rather be able to pull up google maps,BBM someone, or respond to an email while on a conference call or any call for that matter. I guess you like carrying two devices or relying on wifi for that voice over data.

Please believe Verizon will be rolling out similar plans within the next month or two. These money thirsty big wigs aren't stupid.

I believe VZW will. Their stated goal for this year is to grab customers before the 4G roll out and then trying to upsell the customer to that service.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/verizon-wireless-revamps-calling-plans-goe...

AT&T is doing this because their network is getting killed by the high usage of iPhone users. According to VZW, Android users use just as much data and they believe they can sustain the usage. Time will tell, but it is odd AT&T fanboi's always say AT&T needs to charge more for the iPhone to "cover the investment." Now, they are changing the tiers to convince the end user to use less to prevent them from having to fix that network.

VZW invests heavily in its network and has the footprint to show for its investment. Plus, their stated plan is to roll out 4G in 25-30 markets, covering about 100 million people by the end of 2010. In 2013, they plan on having the same 4G footprint as their current 3G deployment. What is AT&T planning? They are going to begin their roll out in mid 2011. And their 3G footprint is tiny. I think AT&T financially engineered themselves into a corner.

The uk is pretty much restricted to 500mb regardless of carrier (on standard non business tariffs).

I hate when they make claims like: "150 emails with attachments" - depends on the attachment surely!

Thats not strictly true.

I know some networks are data nazis, but Vodafone are pretty chilled. Their 'unlimited' data plan is pretty soft... You get 1GB, and even then they don't bill you unless you MILES over it, and they even send you a message if you are close to being billed. Oh and free tethering :D.

I think its worth pointing out that since just about everyone who has home broadband in the UK has wifi at home now, theres no reason why even the 3 networks 500mb with no tethering and such isn't enough for you.

Even when I go to my fiancees where there is no wifi, its not a big deal at all. You can browse like a crazy man without getting near the limit. The only way you could go over is if you use your berry as your only source of internet and are downloading music and such, and in that case, it's your own fault, becuase its pretty obvious how much more data that uses.

I have 2 BB's on my account which means I currently pay a whopping $60/mo for data....which really chaps my hide, b/c my mother in law rarely, rarely uses any data, but we are forced to have the plans. I can't wait to take advantage of this.....whoooohooooooo!!!!!!!

The majority of people feel the way you do, and that's exactly why at&t is doing this. I'm stoked too but won't be getting rid of my unlimited BBRY plan anytime soon. Keeping BBRY forever and keeping my grandfathered unlimited as well.

I currently pay $45 dollars for the Unlimited BES plan to connect with my company system. Does this new pricing effect that model in anyway?

Be great if it went down a bit

Does not effect the BES model, statistics show BES are heavier users and tiered pricing is not a good idea.

That sounds good (I'll stick with my unlimited plan $30.00/mo.-thanks )! I was hoping to hear about the release date for the 9800 Bold!

This is a sad day for any NEW customers that ever thought about moving to AT&T. 200 MB is nothing for smartphone users. Also, I can't believe tethering still occurs an extra cost, DATA IS DATA. It shouldn't matter what you do with that data whether it's emails, SMS, MMS, web browsing, tethering, it's all the SAME DATA. I'd say jump in and get your $30 unlimited now before it's too late.

I use my data quite often and don't come anywhere near 200MB. I actually don't get into the MB area much based on checking my previous usage for the year. These plans may not be for you, but any newcomer who is required to take a data plan with their smartphone may welcome this change.

I was just told By AT&T customer service that this wouldn't apply to Blackberry. Only for laptop connect cards.

They are special only a hand full of them know what we are talking about half the time man but that handful of them that do know will blow your mind

Sounds like someone is drinking the RIM kool-aid. 2GB a month is still PLENTY of data for 99% of the people out there. RIM is the market share leader, but they're playing major catch-up in the hardware, OS, and App world. It won't be long before Android catches RIM at the rate their devices are being used. iPhone probably would have passed them awhile ago if they weren't tied to AT&T. RIM needs to move beyond their 'efficiency' model which worked in the early part of the decade and concentrate on innovation (HELLO!! 4G is coming after all).

Signed - Former Crackberry kool-aid drinker, now drinking the Android kool-aid in HUGE gulps. :-D

Current networks can't support all this data consumption. If every BlackBerry consumed as much data as the iPhone or Android, it would cripple the cell networks.

Again, 4G is right around the corner and Verizon's network, CAN sustain this traffic since they're doing it right now. The only network having major issues is AT&T. Sounds like its more of a single company issue than carrier's plural...
But if you feel the need to have a BB, feel free to 'enjoy' the ho-hum experience. Going from a BB to the Droid has been night and day. I'm shocked anyone still even considers BB's and their outdated UI given what else is on the market. I laugh at RIM for trying to signal that their product is what consumers 'should' want because its good for carriers networks. Unfortunately for them, there's a reason Android and iPhone's are being adopted at a breakneck pace. They're BETTER and they're what the consumer WANTS. Seems like those are some pretty major issues to overcome for a company.

I'm with AT&T, two lines with the 5GB plans. We both use anywhere from 500MB to 1.5GB a month and thats really only because we don't get a lot of 3G service around work and home. The problem I always have with these "amazing plan changes" is that they are really just a kick in the pants. In the previous 5GB plan you were paying 175MB/$1 US. With their new plan you are getting 84MB/$1 US. So not only is it more than double the price, but its not really a big change (my account would be paying all of $10 less a month). If they would have actually had a 2GB plan that was something comparable it should be priced in the $10-15 range, not $25.

You have to look at the marginal cost of the data. The first byte costs you $50, the next 4,999,999,999 bytes cost you $0. The 5,000,000,001st byte costs you another $20.

With the new plans, the price of the first byte changes ($15 and $25 respectively). You also have to take into account how much the 200,000,001st byte costs on the 200MB plan and how much the 2,000,000,001st byte costs on the 2GB plan. All those middle bytes are free.

Its all about the marginal cost.

Has no one thought about Wi/Fi ?come on now most places you are has it and you can get away with 15$ off your bill ... humm

Well since I have been a heavy user for years now(2-5gb monthly). This won't help me at all. I'm am glad for 2nd line tho.

I listen to a bunch of podcasts, pandora, watch some stuff from youtube and have just added bitbop in the past two weeks.

I am not sure how I feel about this.

If you're with Rogers, there's an app that you can install that tells you how much data, talk time, SMS, etc you've used up.

I'm loving this. i only used 7mb last month and currently 22mb in the last 7 days. Its looking good for me if tmo adopts at least one ADDITIONAL option to their plans.

But I can't say that as an existing AT&T customer (locked under contract until Jan 2012) that my life is really any different today. Not totally sure how much data I use, but I believe it's around 1GB a month. If I were more conscious about it, I could probably do a lot of the streaming/podcast downloading at home on WiFi, instead of using 3G.

But if people think this plan is suddenly going to make their AT&T service WORK better (b/c people will use less data), think again. If other carriers don't follow suit, AT&T may be left naked out in the rain with a bunch of P.O.'ed new customers getting charged for overages where they were told they had "unlimited" data in the past.

Why does Sprint now offer uncapped data. Hmm I guess for the average user buckets of data are fine. I want unlimited uncapped data. This is just another way to rob the consumer. Maybe the goverment should regulate it like healthcare. This is 2010 not 2000!

It isn't "healthcare" the government is going "regulate" it is health insurance. There isn't one hospital going to be built from that legislation. But how everyone is insured is affected by it.

Here's the problem with the logic I keep hearing from Crackberry about this great new sales advantage for BB: I don't think the vast majority of consumer knows how much data they consume or understands why that's a problem.

The theory for why this is good for Blackberry is that AT&T customers will be faced with tiered data plans, and rather than risk overages, will go for the more efficient BB over the iPhone, right? Wrong. That's not why people buy phones. People who bought the iPhone bought it because they WANTED AN iPHONE. They don't know that the iPhone is less efficient than other phones, and they certainly don't want a browser that looks like a refurbished Palm Pilot operating system (sorry RIM).

The first thing that will happen is that people will jump ship to other carriers, unless this becomes an industry standard. But even if they stick with AT&T, this change does nothing to BB sales until you educate people on how RIM's device is more efficient, and WHY THAT EFFICIENCY MATTERS. Put it this way, you could never sell a Toyota Prius to somebody only interested in the fastest, sexiest car, nor could you sell it to somebody who didn't know that some cars get better gas mileage than others! This doesn't change the basic problem that RIM needs to make phones that DO the things consumers want them to do. And right now, the "popular" or "casual" market of new smartphone adopters wants an iPhone or Droid.

For making me want to leave! I just checked my usage and I'm at 1GB...with 22 days left in my billing cycle! If I've used that with my 9700, I'd imagine there's going to be a lot of pissed off iPhone users :/
The pricing structure seems a bit high $ low MB as well. I'll have to look it over when I get home.
If Verizon is smart, they'll wait to do tiered pricing til after LTE deployment so they can bleed as many customers off AT&T as they can.

So they are not offering any unlimited packages. Sorry, I use more than 2gigs a month since I got podtrapper and I download 4 podcasts a day. I will stick with big red and keep my good coverage. They tend to be late to the party in offering lower price plans but you do get what you pay for with Verizon. That is good coverage. At least that is what I get.

if tmo offered tiered data such as

low data (15)

unlimited data (30)

Then it would attract me. Im still rocking the 8100 because I dont want my rates to go up.

It seems to me if you are a heavy user (more than 2 gig a month) you are going to be paying more. . . sorry why is this good news?

This is good for today's light users but when 4g roles out 200MB will be one day’s usage not 1 months and we will all be paying a heck of a lot more per GB than we are now. If I am on the road I can burn through 200MB tethered in a day.

RIM rarely gets the credit they deserve for their technical decisions that will now pay off for them. Data compression, security and phones that can last longer than three hours. It might not matter to spec junkies, but it matters to business and consumers.

For those complaining about the new tiers because they use more than 2GB per month, the answer is simple - don't change your plan. It clearly states in the press release that current smartphone users are not required to change to one of the new plans, i.e. you are grandfathered in. For the rest of us who can save $5-$15 per month, it's a great deal. For you, nothing changes. I was skeptical when I read the headline, but I support the changes now that I understand them better.

I just saved 30 freakin bucks. They'll switch on the 7th, but I only used 35 mb last month? Seriously? What do you guys do with a 5gb limit?

This is so stupid of ATT, charging u per mb. Hardcore blackberry users will HATE this! Which most blackberry users are!! I use way more then 2mb of data everymonth, watch enless videos! 400 websites? Lmao, wow.. Rip att! Unlimited is the way to go! Period.

it will be interesting to see what affect this has on att along with the rest of the cell providers. i could see it going either way, depending on if att steps there service quality up and other if other carriers follow.

i just looked at my data useage. my 8900 really sips the data with only 78 megs being the highest in the past 6 months. i do use wifi as much as possable though.

Your 8900 is an EDGE only device... of course it uses less data since it is slow you cant do as much because you get sick of waiting, skipping streaming video/audio, etc. (yes, I have owned the device as well as a Bold 9000 so I am speaking for experience)

I pay 30TL which means 19 USD for 4GB data plan which includes Internet & Wap APN and BIS ofcourse with 50dollars you can get 4GB data plan + Brand New 9700. Or for 25dollars you can get 8220 for free. AT&T gets 30$ for only 5GB data plan or did I get it wrong?
(Turkey-Turkcell)

I totally disagree with Kevin, here, sure he nailed the tier price but this hurts ALL smart phones and does not benefit BB at all.

My first smartpohone was a WinMo. I used 60MB-200MB (~60MB) a month the whole 3+ yrs I had the phone. Since I've had my BB I've averaged 2-3GB a month.

This is bad business and will hurt the smartphone industry. I'm hoping this is an ATT thing only because Sprint and Verizon will benefit from it.

Sounds like this is great for BB, because BB users use less data.... but the real question is why do they use so much less data?? Is it because of RIMs server based system that feeds a BB the internet?

Or is it becuase, they can't browse the internet like everyone else can.
They use less data because there are few apps for BB that can access data from the internet quickly enough so that they work.
They use less data because there is not a "STORE" where they can download music, tv shows and movies to watch right on their device.

Yeah this is all really great for BB!

It seems reasonable that less usage of bandwidth-intensive apps is probably a factor (because most BlackBerry users don't have a huge multimedia appetite), but data compression is important also.

The BIS compresses the data (Depending on the type of data, I've heard ratios from 3:1 to 8:1.), so the same transaction uses much less data on a BlackBerry than on other smartphones.

You're right, there is no store for music... because BlackBerry, unlike Apple, does not force you to download apps and music from their store. You can download from any web site. I've downloaded many songs from my BB browser to my SD card easily. And I have no problem browsing the Internet super fast using my Opera browser. Perhaps you should use a current BlackBerry before making stupid comments.

I am happy to no longer be forced to subsidize the bandwidth abusers, but it's too bad AT&T isn't offering to rollover the data like they do with voice minutes ... or at least sell data by the MB after the limit.

With this new 200 MB plan, if I go one byte over the limit on the last day of the billing cycle, they charge me for another 200 MB that I cannot use, and my data charges double for the month.

This kind of gouging is why I left Verizon.

What would be nice is if they sent a message prior to the additional 200MB charge stating that you are about to exceed the 200MB, do you wish to add another 200MB or simply cut you off. This may be coming based on FCC inquiries about such tactics. I imagine they won't be able to just keep adding additional 200MB and charges for long.

This may be good for first time smartphone owners, but for those of us that use data on a regular basis and love the functionality of our smartphones, I still think there isn't much value in these plans. I agree they are pretty pricey for what you get.

Although I don't use hardly any of it, I have 5 GB included with my Sprint plan. Not to mention free calling to any mobile carrier, unlimited navigation and nights at 7pm. To be able to get 5 GB of BlackBerry data, all those features and 450 minutes for $69 is frickin amazing for me. Take that AT&T plan, add on all the features Sprint includes, and see how much your bill comes to. Even Verizon -- their 450 plan with unlimited data/text is $20 more than Sprint's, and that's for traditional phones with data - not smartphones!

I understand Verizon has some great service, but so does Sprint. I haven't had a dropped call in several years, I love the quality of my calls, and my data works better than any of my friends with GSM/HSPA. And behind Sprint and Verizon is AT&T, with the worst performing 3G service as independently tested by CNET.

I'm good on that load of crap. AT&T is not giving me any incentive to switch. With my employer discount, my plan is $57 before taxes/fees. No other provider can give that kind of a price on a smartphone plan, especially BlackBerry.

Sprint will eventually do the same thing as they get more data hungry phones like the EVO and their network starts to suffer because of it. They will probably be the last of the big 4, but in the end they will do it too.

Are you sure you have a 5 gig cap? I have the family version (1500 instead of 450) and 2 customer service reps have confirmed I have no data cap.

I use mine at home with wifi, and very little outside for data. Where I work is way, way out on the fringe of ATT, and barely get service at all, let alone data. These plans have some use for many people.

AT&T won't have 4G anytime soon. And when they do, best believe they are going to be charging a lot more than $15/30.

But you should be scared. Since 4G isn't here yet, having the first of the major 3 to severely kill off their data plans...I can see Sprint having the same deal. Just cause the technology is fast doesn't mean that they will have the bandwidth. When I used teathering it was to check email, not go stream movies on netflix. So when 4G is out and you can watch a movie...do you honestly think Sprint of all companies would go unlimited? Its going to be the same ol' 5GB plan and then bend over for any additional bytes you want after that.

Our only real hope (in the US) is that a national wireless internet program is started so that we can get off our phones for data.

Actually EVO 4g (not 3G) data IS unlimited, but I think that's just because they have the bandwidth to spare, and I agree with you that it will eventually be tiered as well.

they would have an unlimited option. I am sure there are users out there usinng more that 2GB per month and for those AT&T should have unlimited pricing. In essense if you use 4gb you'll be paying 25+10+10= great revenue for AT&T at the expense of the consumer.

I do understand that current customers will be able to keep their unlimited plans but this should not be the way.

Other carrier will be following i am sure...i am deeply disappointed.

I really think the average BB data usage is so low because RIM's phones are so useless for any of the data hungry apps like browsing, streaming video etc. BBM, email, and texting (the only thing BB's are good for) don't use much bandwidth. If they EVER produce a phone and OS that rivals the Androids and iPhones or any modern phone, I'm sure that usage will go up.

Then again, I doubt they even know how to do that.

t is great in theory but I strongly disagree with how they are pricing it.

For $15 we should get 1G
For $25 it should be 2 G
Unlimited for $40-45

I agree with dcgore. They should add the $15 option for light users but keep the $30 unlimited plan for those who need it. I'm with T-Mo and pay $24.99 for unlimited data but that includes texts too. I don't see how anyone would be enticed to switch to AT&T with the new limited plans. Lame.

the heavy users. They are meant for the casual user like my mother who just sends a few emails and text messages. Tiered pricing is the wave of the future and we, the heavy users, will all be paying more very soon. Just ask our friends in the Great White North how much they pay for data service.

And I am so glad I chose the iPad with wifi only. I use it more than my laptop or netbook. An unlimited plan is the only way to go if you must use the 3G service.

So glad AT&T is going to have a tiered option. I'm new at this BB stuff but $30 a month seems a bit high to me. Now if RIM will just upgrade to OS 6....

According to AT&T 98% of it's smartphone customers use less than 2GB of data per month.So that means the other 2%(iPhone users)use so much data it brings down their entire network.hmmmm Sweet

So after thinking about your post...i decided that Crackberry gets a fail. You shouldn't be promoting this horrible decision of AT&T's as a win for RIM. Yeah, adding BBQ sauce to some dog poop makes it taste a bit better, it still doesnt make it not poop. Sorry crackberry but you and RIM get a big fail today.

WTF! So $15 bucks a month for 200 megs. Then if you go over they will "throw in" another 200 megs for another 15? Gee call me crazy, but doesn't that add up to the $30 unlimited that is out right now? Why would anoyone want to drop their unlimited plan they are on right now? These prices are really skewed! Yet pay the 25 for the 2 gig and if you go over they will throw a gig your way for just 10 bucks!? I have no issue with tiered pricing, frankly I am for it but price it right and accordingly. Don't tell me that, in essence, 30 bucks for 400 megs on the dataplus plan is accordingly.

I would have preferred a straight pay/MB data plan, but I guess they want to avoid that so they can keep on subsidizing phones (and or get more money out of their customers).

The light plan is a bit much. People should atleast get 500MB on the plan. Overage charges should be by the MB, not some "Oops, you went over, now you owe us an additional 15 dollars" crap. The tethering is crap. Who cares how you use your data? If they fear you're going to go over your quota, isn't that what the overage charges are for?

One step forward, one step back.

My contract with AT&T has been up since August last year. I have no intention of re-newing it until RIM comes out with a better Bold.

How much data can you be using? I'm on my phone constantly and have never gone over 100mb/month in the last year. My wife has never gone over 50mb.

We have wifi at the house and I have it at work, so that cuts it down a bit I'm sure.

Great plans for all AT&T users. All carriers should follow their lead, that is obviously the way of the future. They will be attracting many new customers.

People seem to be getting all caught up in this being great for Blackberry. Notice the specifics of the quotes: 98% of all SMARTPHONE users use less than 2GB per month. Smartphones include iPhones, folks. Whether the bulk of the high-end 2% (using more than 2GB per month) are iPhones, Blackberry, or Android is something AT&T hasn't said.

You North Americans really get shafted by your carriers. My dataplan including BIS on Vodafone UK is £5, about $7. They say its 'unlimited' but has 500mb fair usage limit which I have yet to go over though don't stream video.

I don't see how it is a good plan to place a limit on data. There are tons of data heavy apps out there which this works against. I wouldn't consider anything other than unlimited.

Wait a moment.. will you still need to have a texting plan as well? That is just rude. If I am paying for "data" I should be able to use it as I see fit. I would be forced to buy the 2gb plan (if I bother to switch at all) because I hover just above 200mb a month. But, that means I have a whole bunch of unused data a month. Why should I also have to pay to send SMS?

I use wifi a lot so I only use about 40-50 mb per month. This is going to save me $15! See-- not ALL iphone users are data hogs!

Ive never been a AT&T customer. I currently have the Blackberry Tour on Sprint. But Im picking up the HTC Evo 4G. The should have just made the 15 dollar 200 MB plan and kept the 30 unlimited. Tethering will be pretty much useless since its shared with the plan. Thats 45 dollars for 2GB between your phone and computer. They just made the 3G version of the iPad virtually useless. I dont think Apple is going to be too happy about that. So those of you who've been waiting for a iPhone on your network should be happy.

P.S. I dont want to keep hearing data efficiency on the blackberry platform. The broswer and apps that use data just arent very capable. And imo just suck. Thats why blackberry users havent been using much data.

The reason why data usage on BBs sit around 50mb a month is likely due to the crappy nature of the browser, however, they have shown that their new webkit browser uses a 1/3 as much data as do other browsers.

So once people start rolling with 6.0, data usage will likely go up, since it's going to be a better experience, but they'll get more "mileage" out of the BB browser than they would on iPhone/Android.

And for the people who have capable phones and use them often. You pay 83% of the old 30 dollar unlimited plan for 40% of the old data allotment. smh robbery

I have a Blackberry Bold 9000. In Australia with Telstra we still haven't got the OS 5.0 and we pay a huge $49.95 per month for Blackberry Data Charges per phone.

Reading about the changes, i was thinking i was going to get jacked on the deal, after realizing how much data I probably use just by mostly streaming iheartradio at work everyday and surfing on my Curve 8900. Went to my billing page & realized I hit 1.7GB last month!! Mind u, I have no 3G, straight EDGE data mostly since there no Wifi at my job. I will probably scratch by with the DataPro plan saving more tha $10 (employee discount) but if I go over, which i might, that's where they will cash in on me just like they did when I went over my 200 text plan. These new plans only makes sense for those whom use their Blackberries more as a statement or a than actual business tool or mutimedia devise which is better than the iTOY/ipod with phone could ever be

Yuck. I use over 2GB/month because there isn't lots of wi-fi where I am. Why did they get rid of unlimited data plans? I don't have a problem with tiered plans but I think they should still offer an unlimited plan for those who need it and want to pay for it.

I'm glad on T-Mobile. I have a grandfathered data plan that is unlimited data/messages for 34.99. No way in heck am I switching...

Just checked my sons usage and he's almost at 300mb and we still have 15 days left. My usage was almost 200 so to me its not worth the worry of going over to save $5 a month. I'm very happy with ATT coverage so won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

Just how long do you think they will leave the unlimited data plans out there. This does nothing for all the data hogs out there. If they check their usage an see anything north of 2 gigs they will stay on the unlimited plan? So AT&T just decreased revenue and still has the data hogs on the unlimited plan. This may stop any new data hogs from coming about. I'd bet in the future that the unlimited plans will go the way of the Dodo bird. And we will have all tiered pricing on the plans. The CEO of AT&T said this in the past.

At&t is the best data provider...no wonder they were rated the best 3G provider also...you do get what u pay for and that's excellence

So I think it goes without saying that Verizon will have a tiered plan soon too. The question is will they get competitive with pricing and/or data limits?? Maybe offer 400mb/$15 and 3-4gb/$25? If they (Verizon) end up with the same data packages/pricing as At&t it's going to reel of price fixing...

What i dont get is that if 98% of AT&T's customers never go past 2GB of data usage per month then why should they (AT&T) worry about putting a cap on the data usage? If thats the case they should just create the bundles with the data/voice/tethering and lower it $5.

How will this work on Family Plans? I'm currently on a plan with unlimited data...if I were to be on my own plan would I be forced into this new tiered system, or would I still be able to keep the unlimited data?

While I can see people being happy with the plans for smartphones, I see iPad customers being very unhappy. They are more apt to download movies and such and that can eat up GB's fast. I do think overall its great because one of the biggest hits on ATT is that their system is overwhelmed alot by the use of the i____ gadgets. This should help.

where are you?

im on the 5.99 a month tzones data plan, but that doesnt include BIS, so id love to get a actual bb data plan with bb messenger and such for 15 a month.

otherwise ill stick with my grandfathered 5.99 tzones with gmail app.