AT&T expands data plans for smartphones, tablets

DALLAS (AP) ? AT&T Inc. is rolling out expanded wireless data plans as consumers are doing more surfing, texting and emailing on their smartphones and tablets.

The company announced the plans, which allow for more data but at a higher price tag, late Wednesday.

AT&T’s existing customers do not have to change their plans but are given that option. New customers will only be able to select from the new set of plans, which take effect Jan. 22.

Smartphone customers currently pay $15 for a 200-megabyte data plan. The new option is a 300-megabyte plan for $20. Those who do a bit more on their phones can currently pay $25 for a 2-gigabyte plan, but will now have the option of a 3-gigabyte plan for $30.

Tablet users currently pay $25 for a 2-gigabyte plan. The new offerings include a 3-gigabyte plan for $30 and 5-gigabyte plan for $50.

AT&T says data usage among customers is increasing about 40 percent a year and it wanted to offer customers more data upfront. Cellphone and tablet customers who run over their allotted data plans often face hefty fees.

“Customers are using more data than ever before,” David Christopher, chief marketing officer for AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, said in a statement. “Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment and continue to deliver a great value to customers.”