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AT&T makes its Mobile Share plans the only option for new customers

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AT&T (stock)
AT&T (stock)

While AT&T's Mobile Share plans were introduced more than a year ago, the company continued to offer more traditional individual plans — users could pick from a few buckets of minutes, opt-in for unlimited texts or not, and pick from different data bucket sizes. However, the carrier is now following in Verizon's footsteps and eliminating all plans except Mobile Share. Even if you're an individual user with only one device, your only option is to get a line with unlimited voice minutes and texts and then add a data bucket. That makes AT&T's cheapest smartphone plan $70 a month, but it only gets you a paltry 300MB of data every month. Stepping up to 2GB, which was the "standard" individual data bucket when AT&T killed unlimited plans a few years ago, will cost you $95 per month. Splitting the difference is an $85 / month 1GB plan, and AT&T includes options up to a whopping 50GB per month.

While Mobile Share plans are generally a better idea for families with multiple lines (or users with multiple devices), the value proposition isn't as strong for individual users. Unfortunately, it's not a surprising change for AT&T — the value of carrier voice minutes and texts has been steadily dropping in recent years. With services like FaceTime voice calls, iMessage, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and numerous others reducing the need for voice minutes and texts, it seems the carriers want to push everyone to unlimited to keep contract revenues high. Of course, the rest of the US carrier stopped offering different voice minute tiers a long time ago, so AT&T's really just catching up with its competition at this point. If you want to sign up for one of AT&T's older plans, you still have a few weeks — Mobile Share will become your only option starting on October 25th. And if you're an existing customer, AT&T says it'll let you stay on your old plan indefinitely, even if you're upgrading to a new device.