With apparently no end in sight to consumers' insatiable appetite for wireless data, AT&T on Wednesday announced new plans for its smartphone and tablet customers.
The plans take effect on Sunday and represent an increase in prices as AT&T and other wireless operators grapple to keep up with the escalating consumption of data on their networks.
AT&T revealed that its lower-tiered smartphone plan will cost $20 per month for 300 megabytes of data. The current comparable plan costs $15 per month but only comes with 200MB, CNNMoney reported. Other new monthly smartphone plans include 3GB for $30 and 5GB for $50. AT&T said customers needing more data on the two latter plans will pay $10 per gigabyte. The $30 plan reportedly represents a 20 percent increase from a $25 offering that included 2GB of data.
AT&T said current smartphone and tablet customers can keep their current plans or switch to the new offerings, and the current tablet plan of $14.99 per month for 250MB will remain available. The new tablet offerings include $30 for 3GB and $50 for 5GB.
"Customers are using more data than ever before," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a statement.
Citing a "highly competitive environment," Christopher said the escalating demand drove AT&T's new plans.
AT&T, the second-largest U.S. wireless operator, noted that it informs its smartphone and tablet customers in connection with their usage levels as they consume data. For instance, smartphone customers on the 300MB plan will receive a text when they use 65 percent of their data allotment, plus two more alerts as they approach their limit.