AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone company, will cut wireless data-plan prices for most users next week and stop offering unlimited data plans to manage soaring demand for data-hungry devices like Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
AT&T will provide a 200-megabyte plan for $15 a month and a 2-gigabyte package at $25 that compares with current offers of $30 for unlimited data use. Users who exceed the 2-gigabyte level can pay an additional $10 per month for an additional 1 gigabyte of data service, according to a statement.
AT&T wireless chief Ralph de la Vega has said the carrier is battling congestion in New York and San Francisco as a surge in smartphone use has clogged its network. Customers who use the iPhone, which is sold exclusively through AT&T in the U.S., consume seven times the bandwidth of typical mobile phones.
The change in pricing could push some users to Verizon Wireless, where data use is unlimited, an analyst said.
In a first, AT&T also will let customers tie smartphones to laptops and other devices for wireless Internet connections, an approach known as tethering. The service costs $20 a month on top of the wireless plan.