AT&T wants subscribers to have a merry Christmas this year. It also wants some of the people who have been fleeing its network in searching of cheaper smartphone plans to stay put. As such, the carrier on Thursday announced a brand new set of service plans that are far more consumer-friendly. AT&T is still making plenty of money on them, of course, but several of the plans offer significant savings compared to the older plans they replace. What’s more, the new plans finally — FINALLY — take smartphone subsidies into account to an extent, and they automatically drop in cost by $15 per month once your phone is paid off. Or, if you bring your own phone or opt for one of the carrier’s AT&T Next plans, your service is $15 cheaper per month from day one.
Remember our discussion about how phones like Google’s great Nexus 5 are really only a value if you use them with a service plan that doesn’t factor in handset subsidies? Well AT&T’s new Mobile Share Value plans move a big step closer to accomplishing that. They don’t quite provide value that approaches some other offerings out there, but those options also don’t provide the coverage and data speeds afforded by AT&T’s network.
So what do these new plan prices look like, exactly?
They work just like the current Mobile Share plans: Subscribers pay a set fee per device — in this case, $40 per subsidized smartphone, $25 per AT&T Next phone or contract-free smartphone, $20 per feature phone and $10 per tablet — and then the plans tack on a data charge, which varies depending on how much data the subscriber chooses. Data is shared between all devices on a plan and options range from $20 for 300MB of data per month to $375 for 50GB of data per month. All plans still include unlimited talk and text.
But even if we forget about the new plan prices for a moment, customers who use off-contract devices will save $360 every two years just from the fact that these new plans drop by $15 per month for unsubsidized devices.
To make things a bit more clear, BGR has tables that lay out every single new AT&T Mobile Share Value plan and compare it to the plan it replaces. To make things as clear as possible, we’ve made two tables; the first shows plan pricing when you use a new Mobile Share Value plan with one smartphone and the second shows the total cost of the plan on an account with two smartphones.
Some important notes here:
First of all, these new plans do not technically replace the current Mobile Share plans. Subscribers on a current plan will not automatically be moved over to a new one. If you are on an old plan though, we highly recommend you call or go online this coming Sunday when the plans become available and switch immediately. There are a few instances where prices go up on these new plans so you’ll have to crunch some numbers, but the overwhelming majority of scenarios will see savings.
While the prices of what are likely the most popular Mobile Share plans remain unchanged, they will still drop by $15 per device each month as soon as your current contract expires. If you’re on an AT&T Next plan or if you aren’t currently on a contract, your service cost will drop by $15 per device immediately. Most of the new plans do offer savings compared to the old versions though, so you’ll spend less money each month even if you’re still on a contract.
Your contract will not be extended when you switch to a new Mobile Share Value plan.
Lastly, AT&T is also introducing a new option for AT&T Next customers. The current plan allows subscribers to purchase a new smartphone for $0 down and spread the payments out over a period of 20 months, and it also allows them to trade in their current phones and upgrade to a new one every 12 months. The new plan is the same, but payments are spread out over 26 months instead of 20 and upgrades can be had every 18 months. This is a decent option for people who upgrade less frequently — phones cost the same amount but spreading payments across more time obviously results in lower monthly payments.
AT&T’s new Mobile Share Value plans go live this coming Sunday, December 8th, as does the new 18-month AT&T Next plan.
The carrier’s full press release follows below.
AT&T INTRODUCES new Mobile Share Value Plans with More savings and ‘NO ANNUAL SERVICE CONTRACT’ Options
PlansSet New Standard in Freedom, Choice and Affordability for Wireless Customers
DALLAS, DEC. 5, 2013— AT&T’s* new Mobile Share Value® plans will make it even easier for customers to share data and save money while enjoying the nation’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network.1 Beginning Dec. 8, new and existing wireless consumer and business customers will have the option to choose from new Mobile Share Value plans. The new plans offer customers more savings and provide ‘No Annual Service Contract’ options.
With the ‘No Annual Service Contract’ options, smartphone customers can save $15 a month on Mobile Share Value plans.2 Customers can receive these monthly savings when they: Get a new smartphone for no down payment with AT&T Next; bring their own smartphone; purchase a smartphone at full retail price; or when their smartphone is no longer under contract and they switch to the new plans. All Mobile Share Value plan customers will benefit from shared data plus unlimited talk and text on their phones. Consumers will have the ability to connect up to 10 devices, including tablets and other wireless devices, while business customers will be able to connect up to 10, 15, 20 or 25 devices, depending on the plan.
- It’s never been more affordable to get on the nation’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network. For only $45 a month, smartphone customers can now get unlimited talk and text plus 300MB of data.3 Qualifying smartphones can be added to any Mobile Share Value plan for $25 more a month per phone; tablets can be added for $10 more per device.
- Customers with basic and messaging phones can enjoy a low monthly rate of $40 for unlimited talk, text and 300MB of data.3 For $20 more a month per phone, additional basic and messaging lines can be added to any Mobile Share Value plan.
- In addition to the 300MB option, AT&T Mobile Share Value plans offer data options ranging from 1GB up to 50 GB, all with unlimited talk and text.
AT&T is also adding a new AT&T Nextsm plan with an 18 month upgrade option on Dec. 8. It will be available to consumers for up to four smartphones, and to select small business customers, who may provide employees with up to six company-owned devices.3 The new plan will make monthly smartphone payments even lower than the existing AT&T Next option, by spreading payments over 26 months and giving eligible customers a way to get a new smartphone after 18 monthly payments for no down payment, no upgrade fee, no activation fee and no financing fee.
“With our new Mobile Share Value Plans, customers don’t have to compromise,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. “Our new no contract option lets customers add a smartphone to the nation’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network at a lower monthly cost. Customers want great value and a premium network – and now they can save more and get unlimited talk, text and data to share.”
The new Mobile Share Value plans make it easy for customers to manage their data without needing to keep track of multiple plans. Consumers, Individual Responsibility Users (IRUs), and Corporate Responsibility Users (CRUs) have different options to stay informed about their data usage and can check it anytime online through the my AT&T mobile app, or by dialing *DATA# from their mobile phone. AT&T also sends courtesy alerts as customers nearing their data allowance for the month.
All plans include access to AT&T’s nationwide Wi-Fi network at no additional charge.5 Customers can learn more about the new plans and determine which plan is best for them at http://www.att.com/mobilesharevalue.