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AT&T to Require Data Plans on Smartphones and BlackBerry

Starting September 6, new AT&T customers who purchase a smartphone or BlackBerry, as well as existing AT&T customers that upgrade to one of those devices will be required to purchase a $30 data plan with their phone.   This requirement puts AT&T in line with the other major carriers, all of whom have had this requirement for a while (although pricing varies by carrier).   Until now, AT&T had only required a data plan for the iPhone, one that is built into a separate series of plans available for that device.

MyRatePlan Analysis: The impact is likely to be fairly small, as most people who purchase a high end device would likely purchase data service to take full advantage of the features.  However, future customers (and those upgrading) who are mainly interested in having one of these phones for texting via the QWERTY keyboard may choose to instead purchase one of the many “quick messaging” phones offered by AT&T.  These will not require a data plan.    On the business side of things, BlackBerry may see a slight reduction in market share of AT&T’s business if customers forgo those devices to avoid the data plan.

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