Carrier unlimited moves continued to roll late Thursday, with AT&T following up a Sprint announcement with its own launch of a new AT&T Unlimited plan for all postpaid consumer and business customers.
According to AT&T, the new plan will become available Friday, and will offer customers unlimited talk, text, and data on four lines for $180 after a $40 credit. Business customers will also be able to snag unlimited plans with an additional corporate discount.
In terms of video, AT&T said the plan will come with the Stream Saver option, which allos customers to stream HD video at standard quality to save data. That feature can be turned on or off at any time, the carrier confirmed. Tethering, however, will not be included in the plan. AT&T did note, though, the package will include unlimited calls from the United States to Mexico and Canada, as well as unlimited texts to more than 120 countries. Customers on the plan will also be able to use their talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico with no roaming fees when they sign up for the free Roam North America feature.
“We’re offering unlimited entertainment on the nation’s best data network where and when you want to enjoy more of what you love,” AT&T Entertainment Group CMO David Christopher commented.
The news comes as the latest announcement in a wave of carrier responses to Verizon’s decision earlier this week to revive its own unlimited play. T-Mobile was the first to respond, upgrading its video and hotspot specs to match Verizon’s promise of HD video and 10 GB of high-speed hotspot data. Sprint followed suit on Thursday morning, firming the path to AT&T’s announcement.
As with Verizon’s new unlimited plan, AT&T’s Unlimited offer includes a prioritization cap at 22 GB. That is, AT&T warned that after that point, it may slow user speeds during periods of network congestion.
Despite the carrier enthusiasm for unlimited at the moment, analysts are more divided on whether unlimited is a good strategy.
Several analysts – including Instinet’s Jeffrey Kvaal and Evercore ISI’s Vijay Jayant – indicated the move will kill revenue growth across the industry and end up being a long term negative. MoffettNathan analysts also pointed out the shift could spark a capital spending war as carriers strive to offer the best user experience and features, like HD video, amid a traffic boom.
More analyst takes can be found here.