In an email today, AT&T informed customers of the prepaid Data Connect Tablet plan that a $5/month increase is coming starting with their next billing cycle:
The cost of the data plan for your tablet or other connected device will increase by $5.00 per month beginning with your bill cycle that begins on May 18, 2019. If you do nothing, your plan will auto‑renew as you will automatically be charged the new amount.
If you have any questions regarding this price increase or if you wish to change or cancel your current plan, please contact us at 800.331.0500 or visit www.att.com/buyasession.
Until now the plan was $29.99/month for those who set up auto-renew and $35/month for those who don't.
With the increase, those with auto-renew will now pay $34.99/month.
It's not yet confirmed, but we expect that the price for those who don't use the auto-renew will increase as well to $40/month (AT&T's pricing page has not yet been updated).
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What is the Prepaid Unlimited Tablet Plan?
The AT&T "Prepaid Unlimited Tablet" Plan is a session-based prepaid plan designed for tablets, cellular-enabled cameras, and gaming devices. It was first released in 2010 with the launch of the cellular iPad, and quickly retired (but customers grandfathered in as long as they continued to renew).
AT&T brought the plan back in June 2017 and made it available to all tablet devices.
Despite the fact that these plans are specifically meant for cellular-enabled tablets, cameras, and gaming devices - the SIM card currently works just fine in an AT&T compatible hotspot device or router which circumvents the mobile hotspot limitation.
This is a violation of the plan terms of service that could be enforced in the future.
Because of this lack of enforcement, the plan has become very popular as an inexpensive unlimited data option in hotspots and cellular embedded routers.
There are even vendors, particularly on eBay, that will set you up a line using their tablet's (or a spoofed one) IMEI number. You then become a direct AT&T prepaid customer. Those who purchased lines in this manner will be seeing the increase in price too.
No one likes a straight-up price increase, but even at $34.99/month (with auto-renew), this plan still offers a great value. And, so far at least, it doesn't appear that anything else about the plan is changing, including the current lack of enforcement against use in other devices.
This change is part of a trend of AT&T changing pricing and terms of existing or legacy plans.
Here are a few examples:
- Several $5/month increases to grandfathered original unlimited iPhone plans over the years.
- Starting in May 2019, AT&T is changing the terms and increasing the price of the retired Unlimited Choice plan
- In February 2019, AT&T increased the price of old Mobile Share Value Plans
- Late last year, AT&T announced it was discontinuing Unlimited Plus for Business Lines and hotspot only devices were moved to new plans with an increase from $20/month to $40/month each.
Overall, AT&T has been much more willing and able to change plan terms than the other carriers - and we don't expect the trend to end anytime soon.
- AT&T "Unlimited Your Way" Adds Mix-And-Match to Smartphone Plans, While Making Tablets Less Appealing Posted on: September 25, 2020
- AT&T Releases New Prepaid $34.99/mo Tablet Plan - But It's Not Unlimited Posted on: February 28, 2020
- AT&T Confirms Grandfathering of $34.99/Month Prepaid Tablet Plan Posted on: February 20, 2020
- AT&T Pulls Prepaid DataConnect $34.99/Month Unlimited Tablet Plan Posted on: February 13, 2020
- AT&T Increases Prepaid DataConnect Unlimited Tablet Plan by $5/month Posted on: April 18, 2019