A piggy bank for megabytes

AT&T strikes back at T-Mobile with its own data rollover plan

T-Mobile’s Data Stash, which lets you carry over unused megabytes from one month to the next, has only been lived seven days, but AT&T has already come up with a counter plan. It announced its own data rollover program on Wednesday that will allow customers on its shared plans to save their leftover data at the end of each billing cycle.

Rollover Data launches on January 25, and it will automatically apply to all customers on AT&T’s Mobile Share Value plans. But as always with programs like these, there is a big caveat. [company]AT&T[/company] won’t let you keep banking the same data month after month. You have to use it up in the next billing cycle or lose it. Here’s how AT&T explains it:

If you have four lines and have a 15GB AT&T Mobile Share Value Plan and only use 10GB in a given month, you’ll roll over 5GB and have a total of 20GB available to use within the next month.  If you were to only use 10GB in the second month, you’ll again roll over 5GB and have a total of 20GB available the next month. Bottom line: if you have unused plan data this month, it automatically rolls over to be used within the next month in case you need more than your plan’s allotment. This gives you that extra data to do the things you love across all your devices, like surfing the web, watching videos, listening to your favorite music or sending email.

[company]T-Mobile[/company]’s Data Stash lets you keep banking data for a full year after you accrue it (think of your saved megabytes as frequent flier miles that expire after a year). But T-Mobile’s program has its own caveats, the biggest one being that it’s only available to individual line subscribers with a postpaid data plan of 3GB or more. Also, for some strange reason, you can’t actually start rolling data over on Data Stash until you use up an initial 10GB of free data with which T-Mobile is seeding all of its eligible customers’ accounts.

Each program has its pros and cons. AT&T’s Data Rollover is available at any level of shared plan so you can carry over data even on the lowliest 300 MB plan. That data can be used by any device attached to that plan. Data Stash, on the other hand, is restricted to heavier-use individual plans. But because of AT&T’s Data Rollover’s mechanics, you can’t cram big piles of gigabytes under the mattress. Meanwhile, T-Mobile’s plans let you truly bank big chunks of data for a rainy day.

What’s most interesting, though, is how quickly AT&T responded to T-Mobile’s new Uncarrier policy. T-Mobile isn’t even getting a month to test the waters before AT&T’s rival rollover plan goes into effect. AT&T was fast to follow T-Mobile’s phone upgrade program Jump as well, announcing its Next upgrade plans just a week later.

It’s clear that AT&T views T-Mobile’s Uncarrier strategy as a big threat if left unchecked, but AT&T also seems ready to swing at everything T-Mobile throws at it.