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Can You Save Money with the New AT&T Tiered Pricing Plans?

AT&T Wireless announced this week that they will soon stop offering unlimited data plans to new smart phone customers. (Existing customers can stick with their existing $30 per month unlimited data plan or switch.) There are two plans on offer: The first provides 200 MB of data per month at a cost of $15, while the second tier provides 2 GB of data for $25 per month. (If you're not familiar with this change, please read my news article, AT&T Wireless Kills Unlimited Data Plan.)

The question here, of course, is whether it's possible to save money on the new plan. I'm an iPhone user currently, and thus an AT&T customer, so I was personally curious about this as well. And say what you will about AT&T--I certainly have, their network is terrible, overall--but they have fantastic customer service, including a great support web site. And using this site, you can find out what your data usage is like over time. (Here's how: Logon. Under "My Current Usage," click View Past Data Usage.)

Here's my own data usage since the beginning of 2010.

As you can see, I exceed the lower-tier, 200 MB plan every single month. But since the next 200 MB would cost an additional $15 per month, I'd end up paying the same $30 monthly fee every month if I opted for that.

The 2 GB plan would work, of course, and I'll probably do that. This will save just $5 per month, however, or $60 per year. Better than nothing, I guess. But it makes me wonder why there isn't a third tier, between the existing two, that would cost $20 per month and, perhaps, provide 1 GB of data per month. If AT&T offered this, I could save $120 a year. Wouldn't that be something?

I've often lamented the lack of tiered data pricing and knew I'd be able to save money if such a thing were offered. I already use the lowest-possible voice and text plans to save money as well. So the AT&T change is somewhat beneficial for me. It could be even better for you. Be sure to take a look if you're an AT&T customer. The availability of your data usage over time will help you make the right decision.

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