AT&T today announced a new “feature” on data plans for heavy mobile users. Users who have been with AT&T for years, may still be in the unlimited data plan that was first offered when the iPhone was released. For years AT&T has tried to make it more and more inconvenient to keep the plan. The first way was by making any phone plan changes liable for losing the unlimited data plan. Each time you buy your phone from an Apple store, you are asked if you want to make any changes to your data plan, if you say yes you are more than likely to lose that unlimited data plan without evening knowing it at the time. After this they decided to make it a pain to use their service by doing extreme throttling of your data speed when using over 22 GBs of data. 22 GBs of data a month is a lot, but the more our lives move to Netflix on the go and high quality audio thru Spotify the more this amount of data usage is going to be routine.
The new plan is called Stream Saver, and it seeks to try to bring a more regulated approach to the unlimited data plans but keeping video quality to 480p (DVD quality). Stream Saver can be opted out by users but it will start automatically on all data accounts. Since the data that is being used by users is largely video HD streams, AT&T feels that this approach will make it so that 22 GBs will become increasingly rare.
This creative strategy is nothing new in the mobile data world as T-Mobile as already been doing this with their subscribers. T-Mobile took a different path as they just recently revealed an unlimited data plan, and instead of letting it be a free option to turn on or off, it will actually cost you money. If you have one of the regular data plans of T-Mobile it’s free to toggle the HD video quality.
Being an AT&T user myself, I will probably leave the Stream Saver on, as their throttling of data still massively effects my musical enjoyment on my daily commute to work, and this new option may just help me.