AT&T Increases Prices – We Break Down Competing Carrier Rates

Those with existing AT&T contracts are unaffected, but for all those looking to sign a contract soon, take note – AT&T’s data plans are changing once again. Users will now get more data for more money, as AT&T looks to step up efforts to roll out its 4G LTE network this year. The previous data plans were 200 MB for $15 per month, 2 GB for $25 per month, and 4 GB for $45 per month. Starting after this weekend, the plans will be increased to 300 MB for $20 per month, 3 GB for $30 per month, and 5 GB for $50 per month. Those plans are for smartphones – tablet data plans are the same except for the lowest tier, which will remain at 250 MB for $15.

Verizon Wireless, which is more secure in its older 4G network, still has more attractive plans on the whole, offering 4 GB for $30, 10 GB for $50, and 20 GB for $80. Also, according to a December report from Fierce Wireless, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam suggested that family data plans could very well come to Verizon sometime in 2012, which is something worth keeping an eye on if you have smartphone-hungry teenagers roaming around the house.

T-Mobile, coming off of AT&T’s failed takeover bid, features four data plans, all of which are linked to unlimited minutes and text – $70 for 200 MB, and three different ‘unlimited’ plans for $80, $90, and $120. High speeds are throttled for those ‘unlimited’ plans after 2 GB, 5 GB, and 10 GB, respectively. For reference, a T-Mobile unlimited minutes and text plan, without data, is $60 per month. T-Mobile has family data plans, which start at two lines, using the same tiered structure and charging $120, $140, $160, and $220, respective to increasing high speed data allotments. T-Mobile is also floating around more and more prepaid plans for their 3G network that are a little more affordable if you aren’t a heavy data user.

The last bastion of true unlimited high speed data plans, Sprint, might not hold that title for much longer. Sprint did away with its unlimited data plans for everything besides smartphones late last year. The smartphone Simply Everything unlimited plan still stands, though, at $100 per month for unlimited minutes, text, and data (without throttling). Sprint has the same plan available as a family plan, which comes in at $190.

No matter how you look at it, you’re going to need to shell out a lot of cash to access high speed mobile broadband on the go. Depending on how much in the way of data and minutes you use, you’ll need to do some number crunching to figure out which provider makes the most sense for you. Of course, there are cheaper alternatives out there, just don’t expect their level of service or mobile broadband speeds to compare to the heavy hitters. They make a ton of sense if you aren’t streaming much content on the go, but if you want to catch the latest episode of Glee while on the bus, those cheaper providers might not get you there. If you’re looking to get into the smartphone market, or are planning on changing providers, happy hunting.

New AT&T Data Plan Pricing Information Via the LA Times

Image [Via ]