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Summary:

Critics were up in arms last week when AT&T announced new usage-based wireless data plans that replace its existing unlimited data plan, essentially capping data usage on its wireless network. But just how much video can a person watch under the new plans?

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Critics were up in arms last week when AT&T revised its wireless data plans ahead of today’s WWDC keynote, in which Apple’s new iPhone HD is expected to be announced. The new plans, which essentially cap data usage on AT&T’s wireless network, take over for the company’s older unlimited data plan.

While the new 2GB data plan, at $25 a month, is $5 cheaper than the old unlimited plan, it also limits the amount of content that can be viewed on Apple devices. AT&T claims that 98 percent of its subscribers use less than 2 GB per month, while another 65 percent use less than 200 MB a month. But the iPad and iPhone are built for content consumption, specifically web video consumption — so just how much web video can one watch under the new 2 GB data plan? To find out, video search startup Clicker tracked data usage of different video applications on the iPad and measured just how much video users can expect to view on each.

According to AT&T’s estimates, users should be able to watch about 20 minutes of standard def video with the $15 200 MB data plan, and about 200 minutes of standard def video per month with the 2GB plan. But in a blog post, Clicker CEO Jim Lanzone says that users can expect to be able to view much less, depending on what applications they’re using.

Clicker estimates that with a 2GB plan, an AT&T subscriber could theoretically watch 17 hours of programming on YouTube, 13.65 hours of programming on Netflix or 10.24 hours of programming on ABC Streaming App before running through the available data on their wireless plan. That, of course, assumes that users do nothing else with the device during the month.

Related content on GigaOM Pro:How AT&T Will Deal with iPad Data Traffic (subscription required)

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