38 Comments

Summary:

Love it or hate it, AT&T’s new usage-based smartphone data plans fire up on June 7th. That means there’s still time to buy an iPhone or iPad to gain the current unlimited data offerings. Are any of you planning to hurry up and buy one?

Perhaps the most polarizing news in these parts of late is around AT&T’s new smartphone data plan changes, which the carrier unveiled yesterday. Some customers are happy that they’ll be saving up to $15 a month with reduced plan pricing, while others aren’t thrilled to hear that unlimited data is going away in favor of 200 MB or 2 GB buckets with overage charges. Those in the latter camp might appreciate the facetious tweet of Rahul Sood, founder of VoodooPC: “Look on the bright side AT&T customers, your data is STILL unlimited, it’s your bill that was uncapped.”

But the new rate plans don’t take effect until June 7, so there’s still a wee bit of time for new customers to nab an iPhone or iPad under the current unlimited plan offerings. Considering the expectation of a possible front-facing video camera that’s sure to gobble up data on AT&T’s network, it just might make sense to buy a current iPhone 3GS to gain the unlimited data contract and hope you can return the old model for a new one next week. The newest iPhone hardware is widely expected to launch at Apple’s WWDC event next Monday, the same day the new AT&T tiered pricing plans kick in.

Meanwhile iPad owners, which watch three times more video on their Apple device than on others, seem the most miffed, and with good reason. Apple announced an innovative, unlimited AT&T data plan specific to the iPad when it introduced the device in January, which goes by the wayside with this new data plan.

So who’s buying an iPhone or iPad between now and Monday?

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub req’d):

Will Metered Mobile Data Slow the App Markets Growth?

  1. [...] Poll: Who’s Buying an iPhone or iPad Before AT&T’s New Rate Plan … Love it or hate it, AT&T’s new usage-based smartphone data plans fire up on June 7th. That means there’s still time to buy an iPhone or iPad to gain the current unlimited data offerings. Are any of you planning to hurry up and buy one? http://gigaom.com/ — Thu, 03 Jun 2010 14:30:05 -0700 [...]

    Share
  2. I’m thinking of getting the iPad 3G to use the GPS. I would sell my current Wi-Fi iPad. Not to worry about the new data plans, because I am using a MiFi. But would ne nice to get it before the 7 and lock in the Unlimited plan just in case I ever use it.

    Share
    1. That’s a tough one, HG. Is the $130 really worth it for the GPS? My other concern: as I understand it, you may have to buy the data plan and have it auto-renew in order to keep it unlimited. If that is indeed the case, you might be better off with the Wi-Fi model and your MiFi.

      Share
      1. Good point Kevin, about maybe having to have the data going on after you sign up. I haven’t found anything on that yet. If not I can continue to use the MiFi with it. I know 130.00 more just for GPS is steep. If I tell myself to look at it like this. 65.00 3G + 65.00 for GPS, then it doesn’t look too bad. :) I have tried to look for other ways that maybe a BT GPS puck can be used on the iPad but nothing will work because the iPad’s BT doesn’t support serial like a BT GPS does. I’m on the road for work daily and can take advantage of the GPS. Right now the WiFi with Google maps does ok to check traffic. I have another app called Beat The Traffic but takes a long time to find my location, and at times I have to fire up Google Maps, then let it locate me and then close that and go back to Beat The Traffic to find me.

        Share
      2. Good point Kevin, about maybe having to have the data going on after you sign up. I haven’t found anything on that yet. If not I can continue to use the MiFi with it. I know 130.00 more just for GPS is steep. If I tell myself to look at it like this. 65.00 3G + 65.00 for GPS, then it doesn’t look too bad. :) I have tried to look for other ways that maybe a BT GPS puck can be used on the iPad but nothing will work because the iPad’s BT doesn’t support serial like a BT GPS does. I’m on the road for work daily and can take advantage of the GPS. Right now the WiFi with Google maps does ok to check traffic. I have another app called Beat The Traffic but takes a long time to find my location, and at times I have to fire up Google Maps, then let it locate me and then close that and go back to Beat The Traffic to find me. I will have to give this a little bit more thought now.

        Share
      3. HG, you can use a BT GPS dongle with roqyGPS software. You’ll need to be jailbroken though (obviously)

        Share
    2. I’ll tell you one thing. It’s nice having the instant on Internet where coverage is good. But on a recent road trip having GPS was worthless. AT&T service is so spotty and some areas nonexistent not even edge coverage in others. In order to have a bearing on where you going you need to turn off satellite view and strictly map because if your in satellite and you lose coverage all you will have to go by is a line on a screen. AT&T is so worthless. My Sprint Palm Pre on the other hand had continuous EVDO coverage throughout my trip. I crossed the 250MB point 2 weeks into my unlimited plan. If you have the means to get one (iPad 3G sold out everywhere) hopefully you’ll be in a good coverage area when you use it. GPS/ Google maps + AT&T not worth it. Instant on in good coverage area is awesome to have.

      Share
  3. DimeAdozenIdeas Thursday, June 3, 2010

    I hear that there is a new hardware startup focussed on bringing “mobile phone” enabled iPhone covers to customers globally.

    Features:

    1. Actually works as a phone.
    2. Uses Bluetooth technology to circumvent Apple connector licensing terms and fees guaranteeing that this product has a go to market strategy at a reasonable price.
    3. Free with activation and 2yr contract. Unlocked $200.
    Share
  4. The iPad data plan promised by Apple and AT&T lasted less than 40 days. Time will tell who gets the last laugh.

    Share
  5. If there were an option for “I switched carriers because AT&T was already too expensive, and now I’ll really never go back,” I’d choose that one.

    Share
  6. I tried, but apparently there aren’t any iPad 3G to be found anywhere within a 250-mile radius of San Jose, where I live. Guess I’m SOL.

    Share
  7. Nope.

    Share
  8. Tempted, but probably won’t. I have the unlimited plan on the iPhone now and can survive on that. I hope. I didn’t upgrade past whatever version let you tether, so in theory I can do that without paying the extra fee, for the moment. But I watch the reception drop dramatically whenever I try to tether, so it’s technically useless.

    I want an iPad-like device, but one that doesn’t throttle me in terms of Flash and the mobile Safari browser, so it’s been tough to hold out, because I do love Slinging and watching video and listening to music on the iPhone, so I bet I would love the goodness coming from the iPad too.

    Share
  9. I picked up a 64 gig 3G today and gave the wife my wifi iPad.

    Share
  10. If I purchase a new iPhone (G4) at full retail price, since I’m not signing a contract, will I have to switch my unlimited plan?

    Share
    1. As I understand it, no. If you already have an unlimited data plan, you will be allowed to grandfather it to an iPhone 4.0 version.

      Share
  11. Rick Huizinga Thursday, June 3, 2010

    For my iPhone, I’m happy for the availability of the $15 plan as my usage is historically below 200MB for 5 of the past 6 months.

    I am miffed about the change to the iPad pricing plans because I just sold my WiFi iPad and purchased a 3G iPad based on the availability of the $30 unlimited plan that you could sign up for and cancel based on your needs for any given month. Considering the iPad 3G was heavily marketed by Apple based on this “breakthrough deal” with AT&T, I am very upset that this deal changed just 1 month the iPad 3G became available, and just 1 week after I purchased mine.

    I feel that Apple should offer a refund for any iPad 3G owner that wishes to return their iPad 3G without deducting a restocking fee.

    Share
  12. All I can say is I made the decision to not wait for 3G and go ahead and get 4G for my iPad Wifi (and other devices). And now at&t has just made me look even wiser with their recent changes.

    Thank you at&t!

    Share
  13. This bait & switch by Apple/AT&T will not stand up. I believe that AT&T will be stuck grandfathering existing iPad 3g owners who activate before 6/7 to permit dropping in and out of the unlimited $30 data plan. The device has been touted as the ultimate media consumption device, and one of its breakthrough features is the innovative data plan. Apple is in a precarious position here – they (particularly Jobs) marketed this thing on the basis of this data plan and if they knew that it would imminently disappear, then I KNOW that would be a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and most likely similar acts in other jurisdictions. If they didn’t know, then they have the responsibility to pressure AT&T to make this right. We DID NOT buy the iPad 3g to get locked into an infinite $30 per month data contract.

    Share
  14. [...] this article: Poll: Who's Buying an iPhone or iPad Before AT&T's New Rate Plan … Tags: current, current-unlimited, gain-the-current, new-usage-based, plans-fire, smartphone-data, [...]

    Share
  15. I currently have the iPad 3G with the $15.00 for 250 MB data plan. I’m switching to the unlimited plan before the switch-over. Might be the last opportunity in some time we have to buy unlimited data.

    Share
  16. Prepaid data plans will come to the rescue – VirginMobile already offers a MiFi-like device, with no contract. Others will follow – too exciting a market not to enter it. Yes, they are capped as well, but at least I can buy another SIM card if I reach the cap…

    Share
  17. Kevin,

    My iPhone 3GS just started to bug out this week where the iPod function starts and stops without me touching the device. I can’t wait to upgrade to the new hardware when it’s available.

    I’m wondering if doing a complete restore through iTunes might remedy the problem, as I’d love to give this 3GS to my wife when I upgrade.

    Any advice from you experts would much appreciated.

    Cheers, MK

    Share
    1. Mike, if it were me, I’d use one of two options: either make an appointment with the Genius Bar at a local Apple store or factory restore through iTunes. Chances are the Genius Bar would recommend or do the restore anyway, so ultimately, I’d do that. Assuming you have a recent backup, you don’t really have anything to lose by trying it and chance are that it would resolve any wonkiness with the device, assuming that it’s a likely software issue.

      Share
      1. Thanks Kevin…I’ll do a backup/restore. I was hoping that I’d be able to use my 3GS as an iTouch when I upgrade to the new phone, so it would be a shame if the iPod function wasn’t working.

        Fingers crossed…

        P.S. This is the Mike who used to do PR for Novatel/ MiFi. Long time, no speak, but glad to see all is well with JKontheRun ;-)

        Share
      2. Hey, good to hear from you Mike! Hope the restore does the trick, but don’t call me a “genius” if it does. ;)

        Share
      3. Update: The complete restore of my 3GS worked to provide 27 minutes of clean playback on my run just now, then started to bug out again. The iPod function stops and starts, sometimes goes into 2x playback mode, sometimes goes into Voice control mode, etc.

        It’s almost like the accelerometer is picking up on my movements and affecting the playback, even though it should be locked.

        I guess I’ll make an appt. at the Apple store and/or just cough up for new hardware next week. Anyways..sorry for turning the comment thread into tech support. ;-)

        Share
  18. I’m not going to change my ipad plan.

    Share
  19. I would definitely get it now, if I could still have month-to-month pricing at the current rate. Since the second I let the service drop, I can’t get the unlimited pricing again, it’s pointless to rush anything.

    For me, the whole point of the iPad is to have a portable internet device without paying for a plan when I’m not using it. It’s like a cell phone: I don’t own one of those either, because I can’t find anyone that sells a plan where you only have to buy minutes as needed. (I had a prepaid plan for a while; it was too expensive to be worth it.)

    My 2¢.

    Share
  20. [...] Poll: Who's Buying an iPhone or iPad Before AT&T's New Rate Plan Kicks In? (gigaom.com) [...]

    Share
  21. Wang Hung Lo Saturday, June 5, 2010

    My understand that iPhone is out of stock as Apple pre-loads inventory with new iPhone HD (aka iPhone 4G) for purchase beginning next week.

    Share
  22. I have 3 unlimited everything iphones on my account and was going to be adding another one when the new one comes out for another family member so obviously i pay a hefty bill to AT&Tiered every month. So I gave them a call and asked them when I add a line will that line be able to get the unlimited plan as well and they told me no. So I told them that instead of adding another unlimited line and possibly maybe a 5th which would be paying them close to 500 plus monthly i would not upgrade and just pull all my business from them and take it to another carrier. So after a few minutes of debate with the CSR I was transferred to a supervisor who finally gave in cause Im sure the higher up would be severely disappointed if they lost that much cash from one customer, I also told them i would take 3 other families with me who all had multiple iphone line accounts, so he proceeded to note my account and tell me when i had the line that the manager of the store has the power to give me an unlimited data option even after the cutoff date. WOW magic. SO make what you want of that, use the threatening to leave to see if you can get another unlimited data line on your account as well. We will find out when we upgrade

    Share
  23. I was able to purchase new one (64GB 3G) for $980 from a guy locally. He paid 900 for at the Apple store (w/ tax) so I think it was a good deal.

    Share
  24. I bought a 3GS at WalMart the day they were marked down to $99 (I had a first-gen iPhone and was waiting for whatever Uncle Steve unveils tomorrow– but liked the idea of saving $100). I have a good friend who just bought 2 iPhones today, coming off an old Verizon WinMobile phone– to avoid the data-capped plan that is coming. He’ll use a lot of data and the 2GB a month will probably not be enough for him.

    Share
  25. I use my G1 as the sole internet provider for me and my room mate. Its handy and no matter what my internet charges are a flat $30 rate.

    For all of you who think ATT is doing a good thing (essentially you iPhone users) read this article :

    http://getyourgadgetsgoing.com/2010/06/03/how-att-will-empty-your-pocket/

    it breaks down how ATT is trying to trap you with statistics that mislead and deceive. Its true that i am an Android user but i hate to see companies take our hard earned money so this isn;t even about the whole Android-iPhone war. This is just be looking after my fellow consumers…so just check out the article the reply to me with thoughts

    Share
  26. Gilda Dadush Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    I assumed you have previously covered the question. Do you know why Europeans have been able to break the Apple/AT&T monopoly whereas the US land of the frees and the grassroot movements has not moved and inch forward? Just curious :-)

    Share
  27. iPad App Reviews: iBooks for the iPad…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Share
  28. AT&T seems intent on extracting more profit from the iPhone and iPad before they lose exclusivity. Why else would they change the 3G iPad data plan so soon after the device’s April 30th ship date? AT&T now charges a little less for a lot less data. If they’re so concerned about their customers why didn’t they include more bandwidth with tethering and allow the iPad to tether off the iPhone? Greed is the answer to these questions.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post