Gizmodo: Hey, AT&T! We Want Rollover Bytes
Posted on June 4, 2010 by eli courey
Gizmodo has a great idea for AT&T that would benefit iPhone and iPad users. Yesterday, AT&T announced they will be replacing their current $30 unlimited data plan with two new limited plans. Gizmodo is suggesting that AT&T should offer rollover data the same way they do with minutes. It makes a lot of sense to me.
The premise of AT&T’s new wireless data plans is simple. They’ve gone to the same pricing model for data that they’ve always had for voice. Just like paying $40 for 450 minutes of talk time or $60 for 900 minutes, you pay $15 for 200 megabytes, or $25 for 2 gigabytes of data. You’re buying a set amount of data for a fixed price, so you pay per byte, just like you pay per minute. Same deal.
AT&T is the only major carrier in the US to offer rollover minutes as a standard perk. Any minutes you don’t use “roll over,” banking them to use later, like on a rainy day when you’re really bored and just want to sit on the phone for hours. You pay for 1400 minutes a month, but only talk for 950. Those leftover 450 minutes are added to your general pool of minutes, so you’d have 1850 to use the following month. The net effect is that you’re legitimately buying the minutes, in the same way you purchase a 12-pack of soda for $5.
If AT&T is going to count bytes like minutes, you should get rollover bytes. If you pay for 2 gigs of data, you should get 2 gigs of data. If you only use 500 megabytes that month, the leftover 1.5GB should rollover to the next month. Particularly since there’s no middle ground between the two new plans—there’s a massive gulf, 1000 percent wide, between 200MB and 2GB. So a lot of iPhone users are stuck, since they use somewhere between 200MB and 2GB of data—not skimpy enough to grab the cheaper $15-a-month plan, but not anything approaching 2GB. (A $20 500MB plan would be dead on for most iPhone owners, I think—which is probably why it doesn’t exist.)