You know, back when AT&T announced that calls made through their 3G MicroCell device would count against your minutes, we were kind of appalled that they’d charge for a device that helps them appropriately cover their service area, and then charge you for using said device to make calls, when the device routes its data through your home broadband connection that you already pay for. We were appalled, but not surprised.
However, today we are absolutely shocked at the latest tidbit of 3G MicroCell related news, as it has now come out that AT&T is also going to charge data used through the device (again, data that is going through your home broadband connection that you already pay for,) against your AT&T wireless data plan. Think about that for a moment, and let it sink in. AT&T, because they seemingly can’t get their act together and provide proper coverage, needs to sell the 3G MicroCell as a means to make up for the difference. You pay $150 to buy the MicroCell, which improves the signal in your home because it uses your much faster broadband connection. That should be the end of the story—but it’s just the beginning.
So, earlier we told you all about the new AT&T data plans, and mentioned that if you were currently on an unlimited plan, you could keep it, and AT&T will just consider you grandfathered in. Now here is where it gets interesting—after three years, AT&T has finally announced a tethering plan for the iPhone, which will go live with iPhone OS 4.0 is released. The thing is, if you wanna use it, you must leave your unlimited data plan behind, even though the tethering cost is an extra $20 per month. Instead, you have to move to the DataPro plan, which is $25 per month for 2GB of data, and $10 for each additional gigabyte of data used if you go over.
Now, read that again. AT&T is going to charge you $20 for the privilege of tethering. That $20 doesn’t get you any extra data usage—you are still relegated to the 2GB of data that you get from your $25 per month. In other words, AT&T is charging you a fee to use the data you already paid for. That is completely ridiculous. If you pay $25 for 2GB of data, and blow through all 2GB on your iPhone, that is cool with them. However, if you pay $25 for 2GB of data and blow through it while tethered to your computer, they expect you to pay an extra $20, even though on their end, you’ve used 2GB of data—no more, no less—in both scenarios.
This is obviously asinine to anyone on the outside of AT&T looking in. The fact that AT&T wants to charge you an extra fee just because you want to use the data that you;ve already paid for in a certain way just screams that they don’t understand true customer service. If you are grandfathered in with unlimited usage, they won’t allow you to pay the $20 tethering fee. If you switch so that you can tether, the fee is just there to make them more money—and you can never go back to your unlimited plan once you leave it.