Unlimited data

Our friends at AT&T announced new data plans for smartphones today, including the iPhone. Currently, for $30/month, they offer unlimited Internet access. They now have two new plans, for 2GB and 200mb at $25 and $15/month, respectively.

When I first read this, my reaction was that my bill was about to go way up and this is how AT&T will increase profits. However, after poking around the AT&T website this evening, I found they have a pretty nice usage reporting feature. I ran my data usage for the last 6 months. On average, I use about 250mb of data - a lot less than I thought, and only 1 month when I had a large amount of travel did I ever go over 500mb. This is all without doing any spur-of-the-moment budgeting - its unlimited, so I use it.

While I certainly won't complain about a price reduction (since I can easily "handle" the $25/2GB plan, and maybe even the $15 plan) I'm still trying to understand the move on AT&T's part. I use my iPhone quite a bit and considered myself a heavy user. I don't do a tremendous amount of streaming audio or video; primarily web surfing, email, twitter, etc, and some occasional photo uploads. I also take advantage of WiFi a lot, so I suspect a good portion of my usage is offloaded.

The problem is, AT&T (and Apple) have both said iPhone users use a tremendous amount of data. While I'm sure there is a subset of users in the 2GB+ club, based on my own usage I'm guessing the majority are not - so why make such a huge change that potentially upsets a lot of people but will only change behavior or drive additional revenue from a small percentage of customers? I'd almost rather they keep the 5 bucks a month and make the network not drop every other call. (or heck, throw in unlimited texting since it costs them nothing anyway)

Of course, after writing this, it occurs to me AT&T collects $30 a month from me to transfer what would fit on a 1999-era ZIP disk, but maybe, just maybe, they could do it a tad faster.