As rumored, AT&T unveiled new unlimited plans last week that went into effect yesterday. $69/month for unlimited voice. If you have a smartphone, tack on another $30/month for unlimited data. Strangely, this still doesn't include SMS so you'll need another $20/month for that. Still, compared to the price of a metered minutes plan, it's not a bad deal.
However, the pricing for family plans is ridiculous: $70 for the main plan, $50 for each additional line.
$50 for each additional line!?!? Are they insane?
Currently I have a family plan with 5 phones. My iPhone, Eric's iPhone, one kid's LG Neon, my mother's RAZR and a 5th line for my other daughter who only takes a phone in emergencies (she has high functioning autism and therefore isn't as interested as her sister is in phone conversations/texting).
Eric and I pretty heavy data users, moderate SMS and under 500 minutes per month each. My Neon daughter is big into texting with her friends, moderate voice, minimal data. My mother uses maybe 50 minutes a month and no data/SMS. The 5th line is hardly used, but worth it for $10/month if it's needed.
Our monthly bill is currently $255.
$80 for 1400 minutes
$10 each for the extra 4 lines = $40
$60 for two iPhone data plans
$10 for data on the Neon – too easy for it to go online, and didn't want to get killed on accidental charges
$30 for unlimited family SMS
The rest is all fees and taxes.
If I have a 700 minute plan for $60, the additional lines are $10 each. If I have a 6000 minute plan for $310/month, the additional lines are $10 each. That's the beauty of a family plan…the bigger the family, the bigger the savings on shared services.
Considering that we typically use around 900 minutes a month as a group, it's practically an unlimited plan anyway. Right now we have 6763 unused rollover minutes. I wish there was a 1000 minutes plan which would be perfect for us. I never worry about minutes, so I wasn't planning on the unlimited voice plan anyway.
But if I were using the full 1400 minutes each month and seriously considering an unlimited plan, I would have to pay $50 per line regardless of how much use the phone gets? In other words, AT&T is penalizing accounts like mine with more than 2 phones in the "family." There's no other way of looking at it.