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posted by janrinok on Monday June 11 2018, @09:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the gotta-keep-those-profits-coming-in dept.

Submitted via IRC for Fnord666

AT&T is imposing another $5-per-month price increase on customers who have held onto a decade-old grandfathered unlimited data plan. The new price will be $45 a month.

The data plan's price was $30 monthly for seven years until AT&T raised it to $35 in February 2016. A second $5 bump brought the price to $40 a month in January 2017. The third $5 increase in three years will kick in next month.

"Customers who have a grandfathered $40 data plan will receive notifications of a $5 per month rate increase for the data plan," AT&T said in the price increase announcement. "The rate increase will take effect starting with the customer’s July, 2018 service."

The $45 monthly fee is for wireless data only. These customers pay additional fees for phone calling and texting, roughly doubling the overall price.

AT&T could force these customers to move to newer plans because their contracts ran out years ago. Instead, the carrier has been implementing yearly price hikes and encouraging users to change plans. AT&T urged the customers to "learn more about the benefits of our currently available unlimited rate plans," while noting that customers who switch to a different plan "will not be able to switch back to their current grandfathered unlimited data plan in the future."

[...] AT&T claimed that it is imposing the latest price increase simply to "make sure we continue to provide the best service for all of our customers," because the use of mobile data is hitting "record levels."

Related Stories

Big Three Carriers Pay $10M to Settle Claims of False “Unlimited” Advertising 46 comments

T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T will pay a combined $10.2 million in a settlement with US states that alleged the carriers falsely advertised wireless plans as "unlimited" and phones as "free." The deal was announced yesterday by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

"A multistate investigation found that the companies made false claims in advertisements in New York and across the nation, including misrepresentations about 'unlimited' data plans that were in fact limited and had reduced quality and speed after a certain limit was reached by the user," the announcement said.

T-Mobile and Verizon agreed to pay $4.1 million each while AT&T agreed to pay a little over $2 million. The settlement includes AT&T subsidiary Cricket Wireless and Verizon subsidiary TracFone.
The carriers denied any illegal conduct despite agreeing to the settlement. In addition to payments to each state, the carriers agreed to changes in their advertising practices. It's unclear whether consumers will get any refunds out of the settlement, however.
The three carriers agreed that all advertisements to consumers must be "truthful, accurate and non-misleading." They also agreed to the following changes, the NY attorney general's office said:

  • "Unlimited" mobile data plans can only be marketed if there are no limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle.
  • Offers to pay for consumers to switch to a different wireless carrier must clearly disclose how much a consumer will be paid, how consumers will be paid, when consumers can expect payment, and any additional requirements consumers have to meet to get paid.
  • Offers of "free" wireless devices or services must clearly state everything a consumer must do to receive the "free" devices or services.
  • Offers to lease wireless devices must clearly state that the consumer will be entering into a lease agreement.
  • All "savings" claims must have a reasonable basis. If a wireless carrier claims that consumers will save using its services compared to another wireless carrier, the claim must be based on similar goods or services or differences must be clearly explained to the consumer.

The advertising restrictions are to be in place for five years.

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by DannyB on Monday June 11 2018, @09:44PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 11 2018, @09:44PM (#691633) Journal

    The data is unlimited!
    The throttling is unlimited!
    The price increases are unlimited!

    It's the bestest unlimited plan evar!

    With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by bzipitidoo on Monday June 11 2018, @10:15PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Monday June 11 2018, @10:15PM (#691642) Journal

    This is so depressingly common it's hardly news. Big, powerful organization releases feeble excuse, with no proof, no data to back up their claims. No one is fooled, but hardly anyone does anything so they get away with their evasions and manure anyway.

    Sure wish consumers had more energy and less tolerance of things that really matter. Instead you get "nut rage", or grumbling with no actions to back up the grumbles, or nothing at all.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11 2018, @10:54PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11 2018, @10:54PM (#691654)

    I dislike abusive companies and AT&T (and Verizon, Comcast, and all the others) as much as anybody.

    That being said... really? What are people complaining about?

    The company didn't sign a contract saying "this is your price forever." The customers don't have a 10-year contract with them (and if AT&T tried to get them to sign up for one, I'm sure people would have complained). The fact they were able to keep their grandfathered terms is rather reasonable from AT&T. Do you expect to be able to buy eggs, milk, shoes, or anything else for prices from 10 years ago?

    Inflation is a thing, and it shouldn't only hurt corporations. (Nor should only hurt consumers.)

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:18AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:18AM (#691678) Homepage

      Americans are Jewed hardcore with data plans a lot more than many other more uncivilized nations. They do it because they can.

      Although to be fair to AT&T they do have good customer service. I have probably mentioned this story before, but one time many years ago AT&T tried to stack a bullshit 2$/mo charge for a feature I didn't even order. A common practice at the time for all American telecoms. Angry, I called their customer service. They quickly reversed all the bullshit charges and apologized. When the rep asked me if there was anything else she could do for me, I asked her to tell her manager that I objected to their unconstitutional warrantless spying on the American people in concert with the NSA.

      That was almost exactly a year before the Snowden revelations broke.

      Anyway, I'm starting to wonder whether or not my phone is RoHS trash, because it hasen't died yet. And why is it that everytime I see a newer phone like the latest iPhone or Galaxy in public, the glass is always shattered and unrepaired? Having to deal with that daily would drive me apeshit.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:27AM (1 child)

      by frojack (1554) on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:27AM (#691684) Journal

      The odd thing is, some of their newer unlimited-ish plans are more affordable than the old unlimited plans, and include all those other things you have to pay up for.

      And if you can live within a data cap (and most people can) the new plans becomes way cheaper.
      I held onto one of those original unlimited plans for way too long. They really don't make sense.

      If they do for you, I suggest you're doing it just to stick it to the man.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by meustrus on Tuesday June 12 2018, @04:07PM

        by meustrus (4961) on Tuesday June 12 2018, @04:07PM (#691972)

        If [those original unlimited plans make sense] for you, I suggest you're doing it just to stick it to the man.

        Yeah, stick it to the man by giving them more money! Don't punish them by switching to a competitor, starting your own company, or getting your government involved. Just keep paying for that plan no matter what it costs!

        I'm beginning to see why AT&T grandfathered these suckers into their "unlimited" plans.

        If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12 2018, @02:15AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12 2018, @02:15AM (#691751)

      (Nor should only hurt consumers.)

      And yet it pretty much does. ISPs such as Comcast have ridiculously high profit margins which exceed 90%, and yet they need to raise their prices constantly? To make matters worse, people in other first world countries often get higher speeds and much lower prices than we do in the US. It can't be blamed purely on population density, either, because even US cities with high population densities get shafted by ISP monopolies.

      The solution is to declare exclusivity agreements invalid, forcibly break up the monopolies, allow municipal ISPs, and take control of the last mile and rent it out to any company willing to serve that area.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:03AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:03AM (#691671)

    When Sprint and Qualcomm started their Pioneer Plan (around 1999) you got a $400 phone with $0.35/minute calls and unlimited texts with no other monthly service fees and promises of free phone upgrades for life. When my phone finally died I called Sprint. "We no longer support the Pioneer Plan, so you'll have to buy a new phone and a different service plan". FUCK SPRINT.

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:10AM (1 child)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:10AM (#691674) Homepage

      Sprint has always sucked. They were good if you needed cheap plans in all the rural areas other providers were too afraid to be good at, but nowhere else.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:33AM

        by frojack (1554) on Tuesday June 12 2018, @12:33AM (#691688) Journal

        Sprint in rural areas?

        If they were't roaming on Verizon they wouldn't have coverage except in cities.
        When within Verizon roaming coverage areas the incoming call completion rates are useless. Drive into a city ans 16 text messages arrive, all wondering where you have been and if you are ok.

        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by darkfeline on Tuesday June 12 2018, @06:30PM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Tuesday June 12 2018, @06:30PM (#692045) Homepage

    Let's be fair, AT&T clearly made a short-sighted decision to offer unlimited plans. However, not only did they respect their contracts (arguably anyway, I'm not discussing other problems with AT&T service), but they grandfathered the plan even after the contracts were up. By both legal and reasonable interpretations of contract law, AT&T has no obligation to keep the plan after the contracts expire.

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