AT&T is Bringing Back Unlimited Data – For Certain Customers

Big news from AT&T to kick off 2016 — first they announced the end of two-year contracts, and now they’re bringing back unlimited data plans that should be a little more transparent and consumer-friendly than what they’ve done in the past. In other words, they’re becoming a bit more like T-Mobile.

But, this being the telecommunications industry, there’s a catch. Isn’t there always? While the new plans aren’t limited time offers, the unlimited plan is essentially yet another DirecTV promotion following AT&T’s acquisition of the company last year. In order to access the unlimited data plan (which also includes unlimited minutes and texts), you’ll need to have either a U-Verse TV or DirecTV subscription as well. The plan is awfully expensive at $100 per month, which is going to be expensive even for families considering that it costs $40 per month to add a line to the plan (although the fee for the fourth line is waived).

The unlimited data plan joins a number of other DirecTV-related promotions from AT&T, including trade-in offers for anyone buying a smartphone on an AT&T Next installment payment program (which makes more sense now that AT&T has axed contracts), discounts on DirecTV service for existing AT&T Wireless customers, and a $10 per month bill credit for anyone who puts their AT&T Wireless and DirecTV service on one bill.

Whenever we talk about unlimited data (especially unlimited 4G LTE data), we have to talk about throttling. This time around, AT&T is tentatively setting the threshold at 22 GB per month, after which data will be throttled. That’s a pretty high number, and while big families and data hogs might run into trouble, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the average user. Granted, that number is subject to change, but it’s a good starting point.