While all four major carriers all offer “unlimited” data plans these days, every one of them comes with more strings attached than something called “unlimited” should reasonably have. They’re all subject to deprioritization — basically non-guaranteed throttling — under certain circumstances, and limitations on video quality and hotspot data mean that using them for anything other than standard smartphone usage is a non-starter.
From time to time, carriers offer special deals to limited groups that aren’t available to the general public. For example, last year Verizon offered an unlimited hotspot deal to members of the Family Motor Coach Association for just $50 a month. The deal was pulled almost immediately, seemingly because people were joining the FMCA just to get the deal.
AT&T is now trying something similar, but with a more foolproof way to limit the number of people that can sign up.
The plan is available to owners of new Airstream camping trailers, according to Fierce Wireless. The plan offers a full year of completely unlimited data for $360, which works out to $30 a month — far, far less than any equivalent unlimited plan.
Most intriguing is the lack of deprioritization or throttling:
Interestingly, an AT&T representative confirmed to FierceWireless that the carrier’s new “Airstream Connect” service is not subject to the data restriction applied to many of the operator’s other unlimited services. On its smartphone plans, as well as its hotspot plans for connected cars, AT&T warns that network data speeds may be slowed after a customer uses 22 GB per month. That throttling restriction doesn’t apply to AT&T’s new unlimited service for Airstream RVs, the carrier said.
This seems like a smart (if limited) move from AT&T and Airstream right now. For campers on the go, having a good (and affordable) internet connection is a big deal, so this could be a legitimate selling point for the new Airstream. For AT&T, it will serve as a limited trial to see how realistic similar offerings are, and potentially might expand to other connected vehicles in the future.