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AT&T's new shared data plan saves money, but not for everyone

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Keith Bedford/Reuters

(Read caption) AT&T customers can now share a single monthly bill across up to 10 devices. Pictured, a woman talks on her phone as she lies out in the sun in New York's Bryant Park July 6, 2012.

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AT&T has followed in Verizon’s footsteps by offering a shared data plan called “Mobile Share,” in which a single monthly fee will allow subscribers to share their plans with up to 10 devices, the company said Wednesday.

Mobile Share allows unlimited calling, messaging, and tethering, as well as use of AT&T’s 30,000 Wi-Fi hot spots. Users build plans off their smart phones, and can add tablets, laptops, netbooks, game consoles, and even external broadband cards.

Subscribers first choose their monthly data amount – one, four, six, 10, 15, or 20 gigabytes – and add additional smart phones and other devices, which run from $10 to $45 each, depending on the type of device and the amount of data included.

AT&T will send plan-holders notices when they approach their monthly data limits, as well as provide a site to check such information. Alternatively, users can use the AT&T mobile app or dial a number to check on their limits.

However, Mobile Share may prove expensive for those looking to adopt this new plan. As Reuters points out, three gigabytes of data current costs $30. Under the new plan, one gigabyte of data will cost $40.

The only way to retain the current per-gigabyte price is to buy a plan with 20 GB per month.

Verizon unveiled its “Share Everything” plan on June 28. PC World broke down the two plans’ prices and found them to be roughly equivalent. Low-data users will pay slightly less with AT&T’s Mobile Share, and those with greater data demands will pay slightly less with Verizon’s “Share Everything.”

For now, AT&T is keeping its other plans on the menu. Verizon requires users to shift to the new program.


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