AT&T is never shy about finding new ways to screw with its customers. While this trend applies to all of the carriers in the United States, it’s particularly noteworthy that AT&T is rolling out these new plans in the very same week it paid a $60M fine to the FTC for lying to customers about the nature of supposedly unlimited data plans.
According to a new AT&T document, mobile users with old Mobile Share plans now enjoy 15GB more data than they previously had. Mobile Share Value 30GB plans are now Mobile Share Value 45GB plans. Mobile Share Value 60GB is now Mobile Share Value 75GB, etc, etc. Sounds like a nice bonus, right?
Not so much. According to AT&T: “Enjoy more data. Starting with your October 2019 bill, you’ll get an additional 15GB of data on your Mobile Share plan. This bonus data comes with a $10 price increase.”
At first glance, this might seem to fly in the face of what “bonus” means. Typically, a bonus is understood to be a reward, be it tangible or otherwise, for a job well done. Most of us are familiar with the idea of a bonus as something one earns — something that represents a positive value.
But look at the first definition listed in Dictionary.com, and it all makes sense.
bonus (noun): “something given or paid over and above what is due.”
What did AT&T customers previously pay for their service plans? Between $100 and $225 dollars per month. What do they pay now? $110 – $235 per month. Is this not the very definition of the word bonus? AT&T customers are now giving additional funds, over and above what was previously due.
There is no way to opt out of the increase and it’s not even the first time AT&T has raised prices by $10 this year; the company targeted another set of plans for increases earlier in the year. Giving people with 20-70GB of mobile data an additional 10GB in the first place is a worthless value to AT&T because it likely isn’t supplying that much data in the first place. These changes hit plans that have been in place since 2013 and aren’t offered to new customers any longer. If you’re still using a mobile data plan from 2013, it’s probably because it suits your needs just fine — which means you didn’t need the data in the first place.
I can’t say I’m surprised. AT&T is perfectly happy to lie to its customers about the network they’re actually using. The company has rebranded its LTE service as “5G E” in select cities, despite offering nothing of the sort. Then again, considering the state of 5G, that might actually have been a mistake.
Why is AT&T doing this? Because it can. Because the FTC is willing to sign off on pitiful fines that allow AT&T to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that it earned by lying to customers about the service it provided them. Because the FCC and DOJ are willing to sign off on mergers that continue to shrink the number of carriers providing service in the US, even though US cellular subscription costs are already far more expensive than any comparable nation on Earth.
Enjoy your bonus.
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