AT&T leaves customers counting the cost

Someone should remind AT&T that the world has changed and it's all about the customer experience. Seems their marketing people haven't been keeping up.
A recent visit to an AT&T retail shop left me bewildered - the simple task of figuring out the cost of a mobile phone plan with voice, text and data became an odyssey.
The eager agent handed me a brochure and explained the process. Pick a voice plan, pick an SMS plan and then pick a data plan. I was looking for prepaid plans, but was turned off when I discovered that unlimited voice and text alone was $50 (€38.17) a month. The agent didn't bat an eye when I said that virtually unlimited voice (3,900 minutes) and unlimited intra-network SMS with 5-GB of data is $56 in Hong Kong.
Much later, I picked up where I left off and explored plans that included data, this time online, mistakenly thinking it would be easier. A click on Individual plans displayed details on voice - nothing on SMS or data. The Data Device Plans category had nothing on data plans for cell phones - only tablets.
Moving on to Prepaid Plans, again no data plans, just voice and text options. But at least rates were consistent with the retail list. With few choices left, I hit the jackpot with Mobile Share Plans, discovering unlimited talk & text with 4-GB of data was $70 + $40 (per phone). So for one user that's $110 plus tax. That's twice the typical Hong Kong rate for a similar plan.
But that's not the end of it! There is, of course, the Smartphone option. After selecting a device, you need to decide on your service plans: $70 for unlimited voice or just $40 for 450 minutes; 5-GB of data is $50 while 3-GB will bring it down to $30; and add another $20 for unlimited text. A comparable plan to the Hong Kong one mentioned above comes in at about $140.
What is so striking, beyond the high cost, is the silos. No bundled plans lined up in a column with a total at the top or bottom like we're used to in Asia Pacific. Each service has a section (except talk and text are linked with prepaid) and usually a separate webpage. So you are left to do the math. No doubt, with rates like that, who would want to list those totals? A prepaid plan with unlimited voice, text and data (1-GB) will set you back $75.
Now it's clear why AT&T reported a profit of $6.8 billion in Q2 with a 30% margin - surely the envy of the industry.

Suggested Articles

Wireless operators can provide 5G services with spectrum bands both above and below 6 GHz—but that doesn't mean that all countries will let them.

Here are the stories we’re tracking today.

The 5G Mobile Network Architecture research project will implement two 5G use cases in real-world test beds.