You maybe thinking, "has Marty lost it?" Why on Earth would I say no to unlimited data on my iPhone? After all, AT&T has eliminated the "all you can eat" data plan in favor of a capped offering which tops out at 2GB. Well for the past year, ever since I got my iPad 3G and subscribed to the unlimited data plan, things were humming along quite nicely. I was loving having all the data I could use on both devices without the worry of limits or caps. Total per month data expense for both devices: $60. Not a bad price to pay for "all you can eat" data with no caps of any kind. I thought this was great until AT&T started offering the ability to turn your iPhone 4 into a mobile 3G "hotspot." This would allow me to use my 3G data connection on any of my WiFi enabled devices including my iPad and new MacBook Air. I would essentially be able to share the one data connection among multiple devices insetad of having to buy separate plans.
This had me intrigued so I did the math. Originally when I got my 3G iPad, I was happy to be getting unlimited data and not have to worry about caps or overage charges. As it turns out, I use A LOT less 3G data than I originally thought, well below the 2 GB limit of the new plan. The new plan is priced at $25, five dollars less than my existing unlimited plan. On my iPhone 4, I also had a $30 unlimited data plan, separate from my iPad. I found the same usage patterns. I was using well below the 2 GB limit. The new hotspot feature, while costing an extra $20 per month, includes 2GB of additional data. So if I went with the hotspot feature, I would essentially be getting a total of 4GB of 3G data to share among any of my WiFi enbaled devices for a total of $45 per month. This would be a savings of $15 per month over what I was currently paying. The only cavet would forfeit the option to go back to my old "unlimited" data plan. I must confess I did hesistate a little before mmaking the plunge. After all, there is something rather appealing about "unlimited." In the end, I made the switch. Even if I went over 4GB in any month, each additonal GB of data is only $10. For what I was paying previously, I would have to surpass the 6 GB of data in a month to exceed the $60 I was paying before and I'd still get the benefit of a shared data "hotspot" to share among all my devices. Done deal.
So far, the hotspot feature had been working flawlessly. It is especially handy now that I can use my MacBook Air without having to find an available WiFi connection. Great when traveling and as a back-up data source in case my primary home broadband goes out. Definitely a good deal in my opinion. Anyone else take the plunge? Would love your comments.