AT&T, earlier this year, decided to bring back unlimited data. Although there were a few caveats to their unlimited data plan. The biggest one was the fact that you need to either have DIRECTV or their U-verse service. On top of that, unlimited data would cost $100 per month. So it wasn't exactly cheap, nor easy for a big chunk of their customers to switch over. As of the second quarter of this year, the carrier has about 5 million customers that switched to their new unlimited data plan. This doesn't include those that are still grandfathered into their old unlimited plans which they got rid of in 2010.
With CTIA taking place this week in Las Vegas, many of the industries top officials were on hand, including Glenn Lurie, the president and CEO of AT&T's Mobility and Consumer Operations. Lurie stated that AT&T feels "very comfortable with the usage. We feel very comfortable with what we're seeing." Stating that they are not worried about the impact that unlimited data customers are putting on their network. Of course, this unlimited data plan isn't quite truly unlimited, as you'll see throttled speeds after around 21GB of usage. Which definitely helps with network management.
Adding unlimited data was also a way to get customers to switch from other carriers that already used DIRECTV or U-verse, as well as getting people to switch to their video services, over using Comcast or Verizon FiOS for cable and/or home internet. It doesn't seem to have had a huge impact just yet, but that may change in the coming quarters. AT&T says that they have been using a variety of techniques and technologies to keep their network running smoothly under their new unlimited data plan. They also say that the popularity of this plan shows that customers want video and mobility. Stating that "customers vote with their wallet".
With Sprint and T-Mobile also bringing unlimited data back (although these two never really got rid of it), it's going to be interesting to see if unlimited data makes a return throughout the industry. Currently, Verizon is the only carrier not offering unlimited data in some capacity.