When iPhone was first released in the market, back in 2007, AT&T offered three service plans. The first plan had 450 voice minutes per month; the second one had 900 minutes for a month; and the highest priced one offered 1,350 minutes, which was equal to about 22.5 hours of chatting. Apart from that, all the three plans also included 200 text messages. Another advantage of the plans was that all the three offered unlimited data usage; yet of course, the data was used for “email and web.”
This is the old story – things have changed a lot over the past ten years. Wireless plans have evolved beyond recognition and monthly limits on text and voice are long gone. Subsidized phones, years of contract, all are almost gone and many of the carriers like AT&T have released unlimited internet plans now.
Experts in the mobile industry have been explaining that unlimited plans do not make much economic sense for the service providers, because the simple surfing behavior of users have changed to things like real-time driving directions, streaming video and music, online gaming, and many more. However, carriers own a limited spectrum, thus limiting the data usage capacities of the users.
This does not mean that unlimited plans are doomed either. These plans have been coming back slowly and data shows that unlimited plans have taken over the complete scene. Carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint have introduced new and cheaper unlimited data plans. The new plan from T-Mobile starts at seventy dollars for single line and 160 dollars for four lines. Their previous plans ranged from 95 dollars for one line to 280 dollars for four lines. Sprint has gone even lower by offering unlimited plans from 60 to 160 dollars. Their previous plans started at 75 dollars. AT&T and Verizon have also restructured their internet plans.
Recent market research showed that the users are becoming increasingly weary, as they need to guess a plan that would be best for them. A study conducted on US smartphone users showed that users were over-paying forty five billion dollars annually for services that they do not need, owing to the difficulty in picking a proper plan in advance. In line of these findings, AT&T has reintroduced an unlimited plan for hundred dollars, but again, the plan is only available to those who subscribe to their DirecTV packages.