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AT&T Is Making Its Shared Data Family Plans Way Cheaper

Illustration for article titled ATT Is Making Its Shared Data Family Plans Way Cheaper

Over the weekend, AT&T announced that it's cutting the prices of its Mobile Share Value plans that are aimed at families—and it could save you between $50 and $100 a month.

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The Mobile Share plans will continue working in the same way: you purchase a bucket of data (unlimited talk and text included) to share with the whole family. Now, AT&T isn't making the data cheaper, but you'll pay less per line if you get 10GB of data or more a month.

You can now add an off-contract handset to the plan for $15 month, down from $25 before. That may sound modest, but it adds up. Four mobiles sharing 10GB of data will now cost$160 a month; for perspective, four mobiles sharing 4GB used to cost $175. You will, however, need to think about handsets, as the deal is only open to users who buy new phones outright, bring their own off-contract, or upgrade using the Next early upgrade plan.

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Perhaps best of all, though, is the fact that existing users of the Mobile Share plan with on-contract phones can switch to the new pricing structure. Call AT&T, and it will switch you to a Mobile Share Value plan with 10GB of data, dropping the cost per phone from $40 to $15 per month. That's a huge saving; what are you waiting for? [AT&T via Verge]

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DISCUSSION

(Full disclosure: I am a current AT&T user.)

I've always found Mobile Share plans to be a bit overblown, and I believe the maths support me. Now granted, I'm talking about two users, but bear with me here.

I am one of two lines on a family plan. The base rate is $45 per month, and (because the primary line has an iPhone) a $20 data package is included. My line is $10 per month plus $10 unlimited data (hooray for grandfathering) and $30 for my 3GB of data. (Even when I stream plenty of music on Pandora and Spotify, I have never used more than 1.5GB in a given month.) Total (without taxes and fees): $115...and then I get a discount of about 15%, I think.

So we're paying fifteen bucks less than we would for an amount of data we'd never use more than twenty percent of, and we don't have to buy phones outright or use the Next program.* Plus, if I get bored with my phone, there are always ways to get discounted new devices.

*The Next program is ridiculous. You pay an upfront fee, then you pay off the unsubsidized price. When you've actually paid the unsubsidized price, you get to start all over again with another upfront fee and unsubsidized price. Meanwhile, they don't reduce your monthly bill after you've paid off the phone.