New competition could spark return of unlimited data plans for wireless carriers.
In what could be good news for those phone users with heavy video streaming habits, AT&T just announced a new plan soon to be available to their DirecTv and U-Verse customers that will allow unlimited data when bundled with a TV package.
AT&T discontinued offering unlimited data plans back in 2010, but is now re-thinking its options as it faces market-place competition from other providers.
According to bloomberg.com, the new plan will allow up to four subscribers, starting at $100 for the first subscriber and $40 each per month for the next three. The plan allows a fourth member for free, bringing the monthly total to $180 for four members. The unlimited data plan will be offered to new and existing wireless customers when bundling with a television package.
There is a small drawback, however, in that users that go over 22 gigabytes in a billing period will have their data throttled back during high traffic peak periods.
Some analysts think the plan is likely in response to T-Mobile’s recent plan that offers free music and video streaming, titled Binge On, a plan that also runs $180 per month for four subscribers. T-Mobile has come under criticism because the Binge On service reduces the quality of the video streams, although the number-three carrier is adding more than a million new subscribers per quarter since debuting the new service.
Glenn Lurie, AT&T chief executive officer of mobility said in an interview, “We made a massive investment to get here with a video-first network. We don’t believe anyone can match it or even come close.” Lurie added, “This is the opposite of Binge On because you are going to get excellent quality video from day one.”
Although Lurie’s comments referenced the T-Mobile plan, he said AT&T’s plan was not especially targeted at the competitor’s service. “It’s a competitive market place, we’ve picked our battles and we’ve had this plan in the works for awhile,” commented Lurie.
The company said it has plans to offer even more packages to potential and existing customers in the near future that will combine TV with wireless and internet services. These new offerings were made possible by AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTv last year at a cost of $48.5 billion, according to Lurie.