AT&T Is Handing Out 'Bonus' Data Nobody Asked For—And Charging Customers a Fee for It

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Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS (Getty)

AT&T has seemingly managed to dream up a whole new way to fuck with its customers, namely by giving them data that they didn’t ask for and charging them a fee for it.


A 15 GB data hike and accompanying charge, reported Wednesday by the Verge, affects some Mobile Share plan customers. According to a support page about the change, beginning with their bills for the month of October, customers will see “an additional 15GB of data on your Mobile Share plan. This bonus data comes with a $10 price increase.”

“Enjoy more data,” AT&T tells these customers, who again did not ask for this.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for AT&T said that the customers receiving the notice about the unsolicited additional data are on legacy plans. The spokesperson said that customers affected are able to choose from a variety of other plans should they decide they don’t want to pay an additional $120 a year in fees for data they didn’t ask for.

“We are communicating with some customers regarding changes to their mobile plans. Customers have the choice to change their plan at any time and can always contact us with questions or to understand their options,” the AT&T spokesperson said in a statement. The spokesperson noted that switching to a newer, “better” data plan could potentially save some customers money.

As the Verge noted, AT&T announced a similar data hike with an accompanying charge of $5 or $10 for Mobile Share Value plans in March. The company also announced changes to data for its Mobile Share Advantage plans in July of last year with price increases of $5 to $20.

The AT&T spokesperson did not respond to a request for clarification on why it is instituting the newest change to legacy plans or whether the change had anything to do with shared data usage. But an AT&T customer who spoke with The Verge claimed that they never exceeded their monthly data limit. And if I had to take a guess, people in that position probably aren’t going to be psyched to be charged for data they aren’t using.

This also isn’t an especially great look coming from a company poised to hand over $60 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over data throttling on unlimited plans. But given the fact that this is a company notorious for hidden fees and poor service, it’s certainly on brand.



Doug S.

I was affected by this change. When I called to inquire, the choices were 1. Deal with it, 2. Move back down to the 15GB family share plan for the same price as the 30 GB plan that they moved me to AND lose any unused rollover data each month, or 3. Move to a higher cost unlimited plan in one of three differing flavors.  Not great options.