AT&T Mobile Share by the numbers: should I pull the trigger?

New rate plans are never a straightforward affair: you can usually assume that they're designed to increase your spend in some way, but there are so many variables (voice, text, data, features) that are all changing simultaneously that it can be difficult to actually establish whether switching can work to your benefit. It's a little like a casino game — the odds are always in the house's favor, but depending on the circumstances, there's a chance that things can work your way.

Currently, I'm debating whether to switch my AT&T plan over to Mobile Share. On principle, I'd rather not since the FaceTime restriction is one of the most hostile and ethically shady things that AT&T has done in the past few weeks, but I need to look at the bottom line.

Here's where I currently stand:

Att-plan

DataPro is my jam. I needed tethering, I went for it, haven't looked back. Unlimited is dead, I'm over it. I never come close to breaking 4GB — or 3GB, for that matter (AT&T knows this, which is why they intentionally jump from 1GB to 4GB in the Mobile Share plan portfolio).

Anyway, I can sign up for Mobile Share by selecting the $70 4GB plan, then adding $40 for one smartphone. In other words, it's a net increase of $5.01 — and in exchange, I get unlimited voice (up from my current 450 minutes with rollover). Same data, same messaging. So really, the question becomes: is unlimited voice worth $5.01?

For me, the answer is definitely "no." There are a couple months out of the year where I'll break 450 (sometimes significantly), but rollover is always there to bail me out — I've currently got somewhere around 2,000 minutes banked. Voice is obsolete (I know many of you will disagree with me on that point) and I almost never intentionally call someone, so paying even a dime more to upgrade to unlimited voice just doesn't make any sense to me.

That's not to say it won't make sense for you. And that's my point: yes, on paper, switching plans will almost always make your bill jump a bit. That's just how these carriers roll. But you really need to take a few minutes to crunch the numbers and take a hard look at your usage to figure out whether it makes sense... you just might find that it does.