Buckling under the pressure of heavy bandwidth usage, exclusive US iPhone carrier AT&T will soon stop offering unlimited mobile data plans.
The operator said subscribers who went over its new limits would have to pay for more data blocks.
Customers on the cheaper data plan, DataPlus, will have to pay $15 for going over the 200MB limit, and an extra $15 for every 200MB they consume thereafter. On its DataPro plan, customers going over the 2GB limit will be charged $10 for an extra 1GB.
A DataPlus plan costs an extra $15 on a postpaid contract, while DataPro is an extra $25. Previously, $30 a month could buy unlimited data use.
The operator has introduced a number of billing controls to ease in customers used to unlimited data. These include SMS and email notifications on data usage, monitoring applications and an online data calculator.
AT&T also said that 98% of its mobile customers use less than 2GB of data per month. This means the change will result in a $5 reduction for most phone bills.
But at a time when the regulator, the FCC, is increasingly worried about bill shock, the move could face opposition, WSJ said.
AT&T’s rivals, who are contending with the same problems, may see it as a green light to bring in their own curbs on mobile data use. Verizon Wireless has already hinted at introducing data caps.
AT&T executive Mark Collins told Engadget that the concept of unlimited data is now a thing of the past.