David Christopher of AT&T just announced today that the previously unveiled Mobile Share family data plans will go into effect on Thursday, August 23rd. He boasts that it’s perfect timing on the company’s part — just as kids go back to school and the older ones depart for college, right before they do families can sign up for a simple Mobile Share package to stay in touch.
These new plans work almost exactly the way Verizon’s Share Everything plans are formatted. You pick a monthly data allowance that works best for your group of people within the plan — in AT&T’s case those options are 1GB for $40, 4GB for $70, 6GB for $90, 10GB for $120, 15GB for $160, and 20GB for $200 — and then add in the fees AT&T charges for each device. The monthly smartphone price starts at $45 each but can get as low as $30 depending on which amount of data you choose. Basic phones are $30 each, mobile hotspot devices and netbooks (if anyone still uses those) are $20 each, and tablets and gaming devices are $10 each. All Mobile Share plans come with unlimited talk and text as well.
If you were anticipating to save a lot of money by switching to AT&T’s shared data plans, you’re in for some bad news. While Mobile Share does make it easier for families to manage all their wireless devices, the savings will either be negligible or nonexistent.
If you’re unsure about how much data your family uses collectively, AT&T added a Data Planner tool on its website to help you calculate the total.