On March 1st, AT&T published new 'Enhanced' plans, replacing their previous unlimited Choice and Plus plan offerings. Their new Enhanced plans are a downgrade in offering if you're a nomad seeking a home internet replacement - as dedicated data devices can no longer be activated on them.
We noted earlier this week that AT&T's Wireless Internet Plans now offer 50GB or 100GB allotments, up from previous buckets of 25GB or 50GB. The option for 10GB is also available.
The pricing on these plans isn't too shabby either:
These plans are meant to be paired with an AT&T Wireless Internet device - which is meant to serve as both an Internet and phone service for a home.
In the fine print, AT&T states "AT&T may place the non-complying device(s) on the appropriate plan(s)." In regular people wording, this is stating that if you decide to pop the SIM for an AT&T Wireless Internet plan into a device not paired with that plan, well, they'll change your plan.
This device also offers the capability of a voice line. And by offers, AT&T means requires. Even if you intend to only use the data plan via this device, you'll find it difficult-to-impossible to get the extra $20 for voice removed from your account.
This brings the pre-taxes/fees totals to:
Overage charges on the 50GB/100GB plans are $25/10GB. Overage charges on the 10GB plan is $10/1GB.
Previously, AT&T offered 25GB/$60 and 50GB/$100, so if you're on either the older 25GB/50GB plans, we recommend contacting AT&T to switch over to either a higher data bucket, or a lower price point.
Possible Mobile Hotspot Plan?
There is currently some confusion on AT&T's Data Connect page (for data only plans).
Right after the new Enhanced plans rolled out we spotted Data Connect plans that appeared very similar to the Wireless Internet plans described above.These plans were listed with the same data limits and pricing but also listed personal hotspot devices and USB modems as being device options.
We have not yet received confirmation from AT&T on these plans, and the plans are not available online.
Perhaps it was an error? Or perhaps AT&T might be offering some new data options for hotspots, now that Unlimited options are off the table? We'll keep our eyes peeled.
Rural Option Update: We're starting to get reports that the Rural plan may have also quietly retired on 2/28/2018. All signs indicate that these plans have been grandfathered. If you have either a 250GB or 500GB plan be very cautious while making any changes on the account - once a rep changes the account, it could be lost forever.
While 50GB/100GB are decently sized data buckets, some folks in rural areas have access to even larger buckets - at nearly the same pricing.
In mid-February of 2017, AT&T began offering even more data on its Wireless Home & Internet Plan in select "rural" markets:
- 250GB for $60/month (+$20/voice) = $80+ taxes
- 500GB for $100/month (+20/voice) = $120+ taxes
The catch: the 250GB/500GB Rural plans are only available for customers with billing addresses in certain areas (some zip codes in Missouri, Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Western PA, South Dakota and Upstate New York).
Some nomads with other addresses had initially been able to activate the plan by finding the right representative - but AT&T's systems seem to no longer allow this.
Once you have a line active, it will work anywhere that AT&T has coverage - so no need to stay in your 'rural market.'
We have heard that folks in 'rural markets' are still able to get the 250GB plans, but AT&T does not publish where these markets are specifically and information is not readily available outside those markets.
It wouldn't hurt to investigate a 250GB plan offer in the area of your home/mailing address if you are thinking of hooking yourself up with a Wireless Home Internet plan.
While the pricing on these plans is decent, there are some drawbacks inherent to nomads using the plans.
- These plans are designed for and packaged with the Wireless Home Internet device (previously Homebase device). The newly released model is a huge improvement over the original Homebase device.
- The Rural (250GB/500GB) are always subject to network management when not on their native (home address) towers. There is no mention of any network management for the Wireless Internet (10GB/50GB/100GB) plans.
- Domestic roaming is limited to 400MB of data per month. If you exceed that, they may shut down your data access until you are back on one of their towers.
- These plans do not include any international roaming.
- Unlike AT&T Mobile Share Advantage plans, these plans do not include any free video streaming on DirecTV Now.
But, with AT&T ridding themselves of the option of unlimited standalone hotspots on a Unlimited Plus plan, their Wireless Internet Plans are looking pretty good.