AT&T launches larger shared data plans for business customers

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) announced new pricing options for business users on its shared data plans, giving enterprise customers access to larger buckets of data. The action is a response to similar pricing moves for business users by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA.

AT&T said that in addition to its existing Mobile Share shared data plans, which business customers have been able to purchase since last August, the carrier will now offer larger data buckets. The new options, available March 22, include unlimited voice and texting and offer buckets of 30 GB per month ($300), 40 GB ($400) and 50 GB ($500). Customers still must pay a monthly fee for each device added to the account ($30 for smartphones, $10 for tablets, etc.)

AT&T said businesses can add up to 10 devices for plans up to 20 GB; 15 devices for 30 GB plans; 20 devices for 40 GB plans; and 25 devices for 50 GB plans.

Further, AT&T said it will launch on March 22 data-only Mobile Share plans with shared data buckets ranging from 4 GB to 50 GB and prices ranging from $30 to $335 per month. The new "Mobile Share - Data" plans will only be available for tablets, laptops and other connected devices. And finally, AT&T said businesses that need data sharing for more than 25 devices can choose from its new AT&T Business Pooled Nation for Data plans, with buckets ranging from 300 MB to 10 GB and monthly prices from $20 to $80 for eligible devices.

AT&T's announcement follows other carriers as they attempt to get more data revenue from enterprise customers. In January Verizon launched shared data to its business users, expanding the addressable market for the shared data push the carrier launched last year with consumers. Verizon's Share Everything Plan for Small Business gives companies up to 25 lines of service. The plan provides unlimited talking and messaging and a shareable allowance of 30 GB ($225), 40 GB ($300) and 50 GB ($375). Users must also pay the monthly per-line access fee, which costs $40 for smartphones and $10 for tablets.

Starting in February T-Mobile began a concerted push to offer what it calls "data pooling and stackable voice" as part of its effort to attract enterprise customers. T-Mobile has offered pooled, shared-data plans for businesses since August, though it did not publicly announce the offering at that time.

Then earlier this month Sprint announced that through June 13 it will offer shared data plans for small business users that cover smartphones, tablets and other data devices. Sprint's shared data plans are only available through Sprint's "Business Direct, Care and Telesales," and are only available to "corporate-liable business subscribers."

Sprint's business-focused shared data plans for smartphones range from 20 GB to share with up to 10 lines starting at $139.99 for the first line to 60 GB for 30 lines for $349.99. The plans include unlimited talking and texting. The addition of mobile hotspots or USB dongles cost an extra $20 and tablets cost an extra $10. The first line on the account must be a smartphone. Interestingly, the addition of mobile hotspot functions to customers' phones--whereby a user can broadcast a Wi-Fi network from their smartphone--costs an extra $5 for 1 GB and that data cannot be shared. Overages cost $15 per GB.

Sprint offers a slightly different pricing for customers who are primarily powering tablets. Sprint's tablet prices range from 10 GB for up to five lines for $59.99 for the first line and range to 60 GB for 30 lines for $319.99. Sprint said the first line on these accounts must be a tablet and that only LTE tablets can be activated on the plans.

That Sprint and T-Mobile offer pooled data to businesses is notable considering both carriers have advertised their respective unlimited smartphone data service for consumers as superior to the shared data plans for consumers from AT&T and Verizon.

For more:
- see this release

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