Next iPhone days away?
AT&T this week overhauled smartphone pricing as we know it, while bigwigs at a prominent tech conference focused on phones, tablets, and everything in between. All this came amid buzz about the new iPhone Apple's Steve Jobs is expected to unveil during a keynote speech Monday at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference.
AT&T, which is still the only U.S. wireless provider offering Apple's iPhone, caught some industry watchers off guard Wednesday by announcing it is doing away with unlimited wireless data starting Monday--yes, the same day as the Jobs keynote. AT&T will now offer two-tiered data plan pricing.
The move has some praising the carrier for offering a plan that aligns costs with customer data usage and helps brings smartphones to the masses, while others are calling AT&T greedy and criticize it for potentially stifling future mobile application usage and innovation.
The shift affects new AT&T smartphone subscribers who sign up for service on or after Monday. Current smartphone subscribers, including iPhone and iPad customers who have already signed up for the $30 unlimited data plans, are grandfathered in. They can continue to use those unlimited plans until their contracts run out. But if they want to switch their plans to the new $15 and $25 plans they can.
See our FAQ for details on the new pricing structure and a clearer explanation of what it means to wireless customers.
Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless operator in the U.S. and AT&T's chief rival, wouldn't comment on AT&T's new pricing plans. But if history is any indication, it won't take long before Verizon begins offering tiered service for its smartphones, as well.
Meanwhile, at the D: All Things Digital this week, it was all things mobile and all hail the iPad, especially following the opening speech by Jobs. The Apple CEO said the day is approaching when not everyone will need a traditional computer. He also talked Google, Windows, iPhonegate, AT&T, and more.
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