Is AT&T(s t) feeling heat from T-Mobile’s(s tmus) “un-carrier” moves? I think so, but you be the judge: AT&T just announced new family plans that are both simpler to understand and less expensive. The carrier introduced the new plans on Saturday, saying they’re available starting today.
What makes these more simple? Instead of using a chart to determine costs based on the type of device being added to the existing mobile share plans, new and current AT&T customers simply choose the number of smartphones on the plan. Two smartphones get unlimited talk, texting and 10 GB of monthly data for $130. Each additional smartphone added to the plan raises the price by $15; all smartphones on the plan share the 10 GB.
That’s a money saver for me as we have four smartphones on an existing mobile share plan. We collectively get 6 GB of data to share and our monthly cost now is $240 per month. Under the new plan, we’ll actually get an additional 4 GB of shared data and our monthly cost is $160, or a savings of $80 each month going forward. That’s huge.
AT&T currently has a deal through the end of March to offer a $100 new line credit for either switchers or existing customers who add a line. That’s still in effect with the new plans and includes tablets and hotspots as well as phones.
Given that T-Mobile has been aggressive in its service pricing, it’s easy to suggest this is a defensive move from AT&T. There’s more to it though. These price cuts, along with the relatively generous 10 GB of monthly shared data could be construed as a shot across Verizon’s(s vz)(s vod) bow as well. For example, the same unlimited talk, text and shared 10 GB on Verizon’s Share Everything plan is currently $260. Let’s see if that carrier keeps the status quo or bends to additional pricing pressure going forward.