AT&T Mobility CEO: Family data plan coming soon

“AT&T’s version of the family data plan may be coming sooner than you think,” Roger Cheng reports for CNET.

“A family data plan would allow consumers to buy one bucket of data, which can be used by multiple devices, a move industry observers believe could spur the sale of non-traditional cellular devices like connected tablets,” Cheng reports. “‘I’m very comfortable with the plan that will be offered to our customers,’ AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said on the sidelines of his company’s home security and automation event at the CTIA Wireless trade show.

Cheng reports, “He said the company knows how the plan would be structured. He, however, declined to provide any specific details on timing, and wouldn’t comment on whether it would be out in the next few months or if AT&T would beat Verizon Wireless to the punch… Verizon has said it expects to offer its own version of the family data plan by the middle of the year. Like AT&T, Verizon sees family data plans as a way to spur the sale of multiple devices and, in turn, increase data usage and adoption… One carrier not thinking of a shared family data plan is T-Mobile USA.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, T-Mobile USA are far too busy planning their own funeral.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. I figured this was coming when AT&T began circulating a poll regarding attitudes regarding family data plans and such. I don’t personally want one and told them so in the poll.

    Also told them that I would much prefer a la carte channels on FIOS or U-Verse compared to the bullshit tiered model now in common use. That more than a bucket of shared data would be valued and valuable.

    1. I can pretty much guarantee that tiered data cable TV plans will end up as more or equally expensive, not less. They’ll figure out a way to jack it to the customer. “So you want aka carte choices ehhhhhh, welll, we’ll give it to you awlright!”. — Time Warner Cable CEO Ebenezer Potter

  2. Would that be a bucket or more likely knowing AT&T a family cup.

    “Verizon sees family data plans as a way to spur the sale of multiple devices and, in turn, increase data usage and adoption”

    But they don’t want to increase data usage, that is why they all want to get out of the unlimited data plans, they want to increase data charges but not usage.

  3. If de la Vega is “very comfortable” with at&t’s plans, then we should all be prepared to be “very disappointed” and possibly “offended.”

  4. If any of you are following the ongoing Apple Forum thread concerning “phantom data usage” on AT&T iPhones, you will soon realize that ever since the 200MB plans came into being, they are having a horrible time being able to explain what is going on. The thread started somewhere around June 2010, now numbers 122 pages, over 1800 entries, and half a million views. Are these the same people we want to trust with a “Family Bucket of Data”?? I think not!

    1. Phantom is a really good word to describe how my data plan evaporates. Without any reliable tracking mechanism, it’s ATT’s “trust” that’s left. If there is one thing I’ve learned about the corporate/customer behavior of Mobile Cell providers, “trust” is not their strong suit.

  5. Strange, I seem to have a family plan from T-Mobile. Unlimited data on 2 iPhones and two kids’ feature phones, for a total of 4 lines for just under $150/month.

    We left AT&T ages ago. My wife tried to return an unactivated, unopened, still in shrink wrap phone the same day she purchased it because one of our kids wanted to keep his old phone. She’d been told she could return it if he didn’t like it. First they refused to refund anything, then they told her there was a 25% restocking charge. Of course, the original sales drone wasn’t available, and the manager pointed out that there was notification of the restocking charge on the back of the receipt (in 6 point print). My wife was livid. She pointed out that you don’t get the receipt until after you purchase the phone, and then it’s too late. She ended up picketing the AT&T store, and the mall management finally offered to refund her money themselves if she would just go away. AT&T? Never!

    1. I totally agree about the fine print always being on the back of the receipt. How is this not illegal?! You can’t possibly read it unless you have purchased the item already!

  6. The only things that are certain is that the AT&T “bit bucket” will be too small and its cost will be too high.

    Why have a “bucket,” anyway? Why not just charge a modest access fee plus $5 per GB – something more like an electric utility bill? I don’t prepay for 2000kWh just to avoid the possibility of using 2200kWh and paying five times as much. The wireless telcos are vile, despicable parasites.

    1. Agreed

      A few years back, i started a new job that required I carry a mobile phone, one that the the company would pay for completely. The job ended before the phone contract; the company paid off the the ETF and I got to keep the phone. A few years later, I needed a phone again and went back to the carrier to see about activating the one I already owned free and clear. No deal. It would have cost the same as getting a new “free” phone on a new 2 year contract.

      Fsck them all!

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