AT&T and T-Mobile's unlimited data plans could force competition to offer new plans as well.
AT&T is announcing the return of unlimited wireless data for its customers that also subscribe to its DirecTv or U-verse television packages, and it could mean a return to wireless data packages with unlimited data from other carriers, as they try to compete with the telecommunications giant.
The announcement, cited on bloomberg.com, said for a limited time, new and existing customers will be able to subscribe to a TV and wireless bundle, starting at $100 for the first subscriber and $40 for each additional subscriber up to the fourth member, which will be free. This plan will be a total of $180 per month for four members, although the customers who exceed 22 gigabytes in a month will see their speeds throttled back during peak periods.
Analysts say the plan is targeted at T-Mobile’s unlimited data plan for four subscribers, which features free music and video streaming through a service called Binge On. The new T-Mobile plan has attracted over a million new monthly subscribers per quarter, but is receiving complaints about a reduction in quality in its video streaming. Like AT&T’s plan, T-Mobile’s offering is also $180 per month for four subscribers to its service.
Glenn Lurie, AT&T chief executive officer of mobility said in an interview, “We made a massive investment to get here with a video-first network. We don’t believe anyone can match it or even come close.”
Lurie added in reference to T-Mobile’s service, “This is the opposite of Binge On because you are going to get excellent quality video from day one.”
Despite the references, Lurie said the new AT&T plan was not particularly aimed at T-Mobile. “It’s a competitive market place, we’ve picked our battles and we’ve had this plan in the works for awhile,” he commented.
The company plans to announce new packages in the near future that combine wireless and internet services with the television packages that became possible after the provider acquired DirecTV last year for $48.5 billion, according to Lurie.
AT&T discontinued unlimited data plans for its wireless communications back in 2010.