Bad news, smartphone-owning AT&T customers. Starting September 6, customers will not be permitted to use a smartphone on the network without purchasing a smartphone data plan. Exceptions: unlocked phones and customers who currently have a smartphone (think Blackberry or Palm) but use a non-smartphone data plan.
From an internal e-mail obtained by The Boy Genius Report:
Beginning September 6, 2009, customers who activate or upgrade to a Smartphone will need to sign up for an appropriate data plan. Existing Smartphone customers active prior to September 6, 2009 will be grandfathered and exempt from the new policy.
Why we are making this change?
We want our customers to have the best possible experience with their Smartphones. A predictable bill is a key factor in customer satisfaction, so effective September 6, 2009 Smartphone customers will need to subscribe to a data plan, as the vast majority of customers already do. Data plans let customers fully utilize their device, without the worry of bill shock.
Our cynical translation: too many customers are ending their data plans on their smartphones, using too much data on a pay-per-use basis, and then calling AT&T to whine about it. Many customers who bought smartphones in more comfortable financial times have jettisoned those plans in recent months.
If you don’t want to be stuck with an unlimited data plan for the life of your device, call to have the data plan removed before September 6 – but remember, smartphones are kind of boring without the data plan.
AT&T to require smartphone data plans starting September 6th [The Boy Genius Report]
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