Ina Fried

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AT&T Raising Monthly Data Plan Prices, but Throwing in More Data

AT&T is changing its data rate plans for new smartphone and tablet customers on Sunday, upping the cost but adding more gigabytes for the price.

The carrier, which had charged $25 a month for 2GB of data, will now offer 3GB for $30 a month. Its entry-level data plan, which was $15 for 200 megabytes, will shift to $20 for 300MB, while its $45 high-end 4GB plan (which allows tethering to another device) will now be $50 for 5GB.

Existing customers will be able to keep their current data plan, even if they upgrade their phones, but can also opt to switch to one of the new plans.

AT&T says the change reflects the ever-increasing amounts of data that customers are consuming, noting that data usage is up 40 percent in the past year. The company expects data use to continue to rise as the carrier offers its new high-speed LTE network in more cities.

AT&T’s primary rival, Verizon, charges $30 for 2GB of data, though it has been running a “double your data” promotion offering 4G customers 4GB of data for that price.

Customers, meanwhile, are still trying to get a handle on just how much data they are using, now that most of the major carriers have moved away from fully unlimited plans.

Sprint still offers unlimited plans on phones, while Verizon and AT&T have tiered plans with overage charges and T-Mobile throttles the speed of users once they hit a certain level of paid data use.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus