- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In late August, AT&T is introducing Mobile Share plans that let subscribers connect up to ten devices to a pooled data plan. Phones that are connected get unlimited calling and texting, and a set amount of data allowance is shared among the devices. Here’s a brief look at prices and a breakdown of which plans are best suited to various types of users.

The base cost of a Mobile Share plan is for a monthly data allowance and one smartphone with unlimited calling and texting:

_ 1 gigabyte $85 (each additional smartphone: $45)

_ 4 gigabytes $110 (each additional smartphone: $40)

_ 6 gigabytes $125 (each additional smartphone: $35)

_ 10 gigabytes $150 (each additional smartphone: $30)

_ 15 gigabytes $190 (each additional smartphone: $30)

_ 20 gigabytes $230 (each additional smartphone: $30)

Subscribers can then add smartphones at the price above.

They can also add:

_ Basic, non-smartphones for $30 each

_ Laptops or laptop modems for $20 each

_ Tablets and gaming devices for $10 each

The devices all share the same “bucket” of gigabytes.


Here’s how the Mobile Share plan stacks up against some current AT&T plans.

_ The Connected Single: One smartphone with unlimited calling and texting.

Current Nation single-line plan with 3 gigabytes of data: $120 per month

Mobile Share with 4 gigabytes of data: $110 per month

Winner: Mobile Share. It’s cheaper, and you get more data. Not many people need unlimited calling, though.

_ The Frugal but Connected Single: The cheapest plans for that one-smartphone guy or gal.

Current Nation plan: $60 for one smartphone with 450 minutes of calling, pay-per-use text messaging and 300 megabytes of data.

Mobile Share: $85 for one smartphone with unlimited calling, unlimited messages and 1 gigabyte of data

Winner: Nation plan. It’s cheaper, but you get less, too.

_ The Connected Couple: Two smartphones with unlimited calling, texting and 6 gigabytes of data (shared under new plan, 3 gigabytes for each phone under old plan)

Current FamilyTalk Nation plan: $210 per month

Mobile Share: $160 per month

Winner: Mobile Share. It’s cheaper, plus it’s easier to use the data.

_ The Frugal but Connected Couple: Two smartphones, paying as little as possible.

Current FamilyTalk Nation: $100 for two smartphones with 550 shared minutes of calling, pay-per-use text messages and 300 megabytes of data per phone.

Mobile Share: $130 for two smartphones with unlimited calling and texting, and 1 gigabyte of data, shared.

Winner: FamilyTalk. It’s cheaper, but you also get less.

_ The Always-Connected Couple: Two smartphones with unlimited calling and texting, a tablet and a USB data stick.

Current plans: Total of $290 per month. That’s $210 for the smartphones on FamilyTalk Nation, plus $30 for the tablet and $50 for the data stick. Total data allowance is 14 gigabytes.

Mobile Share: $210 per month, with 10 gigabytes of data.

Winner: Mobile Share. It’s cheaper. You get less data in this example, but it’s all in one pool, so it’s easier to use it efficiently. For example, you could use 6 gigabytes watching Netflix on your tablet one month, if you want. On the current $30-per-month separate tablet plan, you’re limited to 3 gigabytes per month.

_ The Family: Two smartphones and two basic phones.

Current Family SharePlan: $220. That’s for 2,100 shared minutes, unlimited texting and 3 gigabytes of data for each smartphone.

Mobile Share: $220. That’s with unlimited calling, unlimited texting and 6 gigabytes of shared data.

Winner: Mobile Share. You get unlimited calling and data that’s easier to use. The non-smartphones can use the data pool, too.

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