AT&T’s failure to provide tethering was my biggest hurdle to buying an iPhone. Today’s announcements by the company, revising its data plans and providing tethering, are now a big spanner in my smartphone works.
ArsTechnica has the best overview of the plans and the implications. If you believe AT&T, a lot of their smartphone customers who only use under 200 MB are gonna save money with a new $15 DataPlus package. Their “prosumer” DataPro version only provides 2GB of data but at $25 is a little cheaper than other providers 5GB plans. Tethering is an extra $20, only available if you get the DataPro plan, and doesn’t provide any extra bandwidth. Your laptop usage and smartphone usage have to fit within 2GB or you pay overages.
I’ve argued before that 5GB caps are pretty reasonable. 2GB seems a little snug, especially if you stream any audio or video. Plus it’s actually $5 more than what you’d pay monthly to be on Sprint’s 3G/4G network, with tethering. Then again, AT&T, unlike Sprint, seems to be trying to avoid unleashing those types of applications on its network. Also, the basic plan that Sprint forces you into, at $70 may wash that $5 difference out.
I do agree though, that AT&T has screwed Apple and iPad users.
The other complication is that there is mounting evidence that the HTC Evo may have serious battery life issues. 4G may be bleeding edge and all that, but there’s no point if you have to constantly be recharging the phone.
So for once I actually will be waiting with some anticipation to see what Steve Jobs announces in the near future. I’ll be a fanboy yet.