AT&T Wireless offers several data plans with their GPRS-capable (“mMode”) phones. Let’s look at the cheapest three:
|Data Plan Name||Details||Price|
|Included Data Plan||0.0 Megabytes included
Cost per additional kilobyte(K) $0.03
|mMode Mini Plan||0.0 Megabytes included
Cost per additional kilobyte(K) $0.02
|mMode Mega Plan||1.0 Megabytes included
Cost per additional kilobyte(K) $0.01
Note that neither the Included Data nor the Mini plans include any data; with the Mini plan you pay $2.99 extra to pay a little less per kilobyte. So let’s compute the break-even point, where it’s better to pay for Mini. It turns out to be 299 kilobytes, for which both plans total $8.97 a month. But wait: for only $7.99, you can get the Mega plan, which includes over three times as much data for almost a dollar less.
Note that you don’t have to decide up front; AT&T lets you change your plan retroactively for the whole month, and your current data usage can be discovered either via the Web site or using the phone itself. So if you’re on the Included Data plan, all you have to do is check your usage near the end of the billing cycle, and if you’re at 267 kilobytes or more, call Customer Service and switch to the Mega plan.
So one has to ask: Does AT&T Wireless offer the Mini Plan for any other reason than to extract an additional fee from people who aren’t good at math?