Yesterday we heard that Sprint will begin charging a premium fee for smartphone data and today, it's AT&T's turn to tweak their prices a bit. Leaked policy outlines from AT&T indicate that messaging plans, upgrade discounts and Microcell pricing are all about to change.
In an effort to help "streamline offers for customers and help our (AT&T) reps be more efficient" (AT&T's words not ours) the following changes will become effective January 23, 2011.
The messaging plans will be restructured with a new 1,000 message package being offered for $10 with it costing you $.10 per message over the thousand. This plan will be replacing the 200 and 1,500 message plans. The unlimited texting (both individual and family) will stick around, un-touched.
Existing Customers will have the option to stay with their current plan or change to the new plan.
The $50 and $100 upgrade discounts that AT&T customers have enjoyed on subsidized pricing are going away. If you were eligible for these discounts by January 23, 2011 you'll have until July 23, 2011 to take advantage of them. After January 23, 2011 you'll still see the contractual discounts on phones but no additional discounts on top of those.
And the oddest price increase involved may be that the cost of the 3G Microcell is climbing from $149.99 to $199.99. It's not as if the Microcell was selling like hot cakes and raising the price will likely cause them to move even slower. However, there will still be a pre-selected customer base that will recieve direct mail discounts on the Microcell.
AT&T is also taking this as an opportunity to jack up the activation fees for Family Plans (jumping from $10 to $36) and to change international voice roaming prices in 117 countries. No specifics on which countries but we can rest assured that the prices are going up, not down.
Again, these changes won't kick in until January 23, 2011. If you were planning on upgrading to a Windows Phone 7 device and are currently eligible, now might be a good time to visit your local AT&T store.