AT&T raising data plan prices, limits starting Sunday

AT&T smartphone customers, including iPhone users, will have to pay more for data service starting Sunday.

Data-hungry AT&T customers — smartphone and tablet users — will begin paying more for their allotted monthly amount starting Sunday, when the carrier will begin charging an additional $5 per plan. However, the hike will also come with an increase in the amount of data assigned to each plan, the carrier said.

The most economical smartphone plan will be $20 a month — up from $15 — for 300 megabytes of data, up from the current 200 megabytes offered, the company said in a statement. AT&T is Puerto Rico’s largest wireless carrier with nearly 1 million customers.

Smartphone customers wanting the 3-gigabyte “AT&T Data Plus” plan will be charged $30 a month, up from the current 2-gigabyte, $25-a-month offer. The upper “AT&T Data Pro” tier, that currently offers 4 gigabytes for $45 monthly will go up to 5 gigabytes for $50 a month, with mobile hotspot/tethering.

Smartphone customers needing additional data can pay $10 per additional gigabyte on the AT&T Data Pro 3GB and Data Pro 5GB plans; AT&T Data Plus users will receive an extra 300MB for $20.

“Customers are using more data than ever before,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment.”

Meanwhile, new rates for the AT&T DataConnect data plans for tablet computers will offer two options: $30 for 3 gigabytes or $50 for 5 gigabytes.

Existing smartphone and tablet customers will have the choice of keeping their current plans or choosing one of these new plans, and the current $14.99 for 250MB plan for tablet customers will remain available, AT&T said.

Roger Entner, a consultant with Recon Analytics, told that AT&T’s rate plan hikes seek to curb overage charges applied to customers who exceed their allotted data.

“Nobody is happy about overages — it makes unhappy customers, and unhappy customers tend to leave,” Entner said.

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