Will new portable hotspot/unlimited data plans put the squeeze on AT&T?

Clearwire and Virgin Mobile recently introduced portable WiFi hotspots and contract-free unlimited mobile broadband data plans--the Clearwire Puck and the Virgin Mobile MiFi. Will their moves make bundled data plans obsolete for the likes of AT&T (NYSE:T)?

Rather than paying $25 for 2 GB of data on the iPhone, plus $20 for tethering and another $25 for 2 GB of data on the iPad, AT&T subscribers can buy the minimal data plan for 200 MB on the iPhone and instead pay $40 per month with Virgin Mobile for unlimited data on a portable hotspot that could be shared among the iPhone, a laptop and the iPad, noted PC World.

While the upfront savings is just $15 per month, consumers could potentially save a significant amount considering that mobile hotspots provide unlimited data compared with the 4 GB combined total on AT&T. And even more devices could connect to the portable hotspot.

For more:
- see this PC World article

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Clearwire to attack new market segment
Report: Verizon launching 5 GB prepaid mobile broadband plan for $80
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