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Carrier AT&T’s Unlimited 5G Plans: Should I Be OK Giving up Stuff to get 5G?

ScottC7

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 20, 2008
239
210
Orbiting Planet Apple
My iPhone 12 Pro is on its way, so as an AT&T customer on a Mobile Share plan, I started looking into their 5G plans (the “Unlimited” series). It seems to me there are alot of compromises AT&T is making customers accept to get 5G.

For example, in my home, we have 5 lines: three iPhones, an iPad, and an Apple Watch. If I’m reading the language correctly, there is no Unlimited plan that allows me to stream HD onto my iPad...all the plans specify 480p streaming. Is that really correct, and if so, why would I be OK with that on a 12.9” iPad Pro with this amazing screen and video processing?

Am I misunderstanding? I hope so.
 

donawalt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2015
518
227
I have the same questions and more. Actually @BasicGreatGuy, Elite seems to give you HD on an iPhone, but not on an iPad or Watch, per @ScottC7 's post. Also, I saw that unlimited text, data, and phone calls are not ‘check marked’ on the comparison of the Unlimited programs vs. Mobile Share plan. Is it really not possible to send a text from an iPad thru cellular on unlimited plans?
 

mzd

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2005
924
26
Wisconsin
It isn’t worth it for me to switch from my family share, even for 5G and the $350 trade in deal (have a 7). The new unlimited plans would nearly double my current monthly bill.
 

iphone1105

macrumors 68020
Oct 8, 2009
2,058
236
Depends on your household. I switched because I got the new 12 and will need 5G access much like you OP. It knocked about $30 off my bill. My wife doesn't really need a hotspot or HD video, she's always on wifi. My iPad is on the plan, my pro. I never used that much LTE since I had my phone or just tethered to it from my phone. So it saved us a bit, allows me to take full advantage of the trade in deal, and knock some money off that too. Not all that bad, really just depends on what you intend to do and what users in your family require. :)
 
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slippery-pete

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2007
1,706
605
I updated from family share to new unlimited elite. With auto pay and company discount, I actually save 7 a month. 4 phones and 1 watch on my plan.
 

Paco II

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2009
2,086
613
Depends on your household. I switched because I got the new 12 and will need 5G access much like you OP. It knocked about $30 off my bill. My wife doesn't really need a hotspot or HD video, she's always on wifi. My iPad is on the plan, my pro. I never used that much LTE since I had my phone or just tethered to it from my phone. So it saved us a bit, allows me to take full advantage of the trade in deal, and knock some money off that too. Not all that bad, really just depends on what you intend to do and what users in your family require. :)

I wish I was so lucky. With only two lines, moving from the mobile share to elite my bill has gone up about $20/month
 

kevink2

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2008
1,599
209
I have the same questions and more. Actually @BasicGreatGuy, Elite seems to give you HD on an iPhone, but not on an iPad or Watch, per @ScottC7 's post. Also, I saw that unlimited text, data, and phone calls are not ‘check marked’ on the comparison of the Unlimited programs vs. Mobile Share plan. Is it really not possible to send a text from an iPad thru cellular on unlimited plans?

Of course the watch doesn't have the resolution to do HD :)

I'm currently on a MVNO with a limited data plan, so doesn't apply. And recently moved my iPad to T-Mobile's limited plan for price savings. So the iPad is only going to be streaming on Wi-Fi.
 

donawalt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2015
518
227
I just don't seem to understand how it works - someone has an iPad with cellular, yet the cellular plans from AT&T (Unlimited) don't provide cellular access for text and data? How is that possible? I don't think it's pay as you go per text/MB of data...
 

ScottC7

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 20, 2008
239
210
Orbiting Planet Apple
I just don't seem to understand how it works - someone has an iPad with cellular, yet the cellular plans from AT&T (Unlimited) don't provide cellular access for text and data? How is that possible? I don't think it's pay as you go per text/MB of data...
Exactly! I don’t see the value in keeping an iPad on an AT&T Unlimited account, when AT&T makes its functionality just the opposite - extremely limited.

The more I’ve pondered this, the more I’ve realized I don’t really need a line for my iPad. I was willing to do it (and to pay AT&T the additional money) as a matter of convenience, but with this level of functional restriction on what is possible, I see no reason to keep it. I may as well cancel it and save the money.

By the way, while I’m venting, I also don’t understand why the “Unlimited Your Way” that AT&T touts does not offer me all three Unlimited Plans. For each of our three iPhone lines, I can only choose between the “Elite” and “Starter” plans. For some reason, it’s not letting me see the third plan (Unlimited Extra).

Oh how I loathe US cellular communications companies...so much anti-consumer behavior.
 

BrettDS

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2012
1,248
377
Orlando
It isn’t worth it for me to switch from my family share, even for 5G and the $350 trade in deal (have a 7). The new unlimited plans would nearly double my current monthly bill.

It sounds to me like it wouldn’t be anywhere close to worth it for you. You don’t say how much your monthly bill is, but even if it was only $50 then in 30 months you will have spent an extra $1500 for a $350 credit and marginally faster service.
 
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iFan

macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2007
171
462
By the way, while I’m venting, I also don’t understand why the “Unlimited Your Way” that AT&T touts does not offer me all three Unlimited Plans. For each of our three iPhone lines, I can only choose between the “Elite” and “Starter” plans. For some reason, it’s not letting me see the third plan (Unlimited Extra).

Oh how I loathe US cellular communications companies...so much anti-consumer behavior.

I believe the reason you don't see Extra is because your discount is giving you Elite for the price of Extra. Since they would be the same cost, it isn't allowing you to choose the inferior option. This is a rare case of the AT&T system actually benefiting you.

For the HD vs SD streaming on iPad I completely agree with you. Either that or they should offer different tiers of pricing for iPad. $10 for SD streaming, $20 for HD.
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
1,239
944
Is AT&T selling regular and 5G plans separately? What kind of world do we live in?
Since when do underlying carrier technologies warrant a separate plan?
 
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iFan

macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2007
171
462
When I worked for AT&T I got to be involved in some of the backdoor shenanigans that go on between regulators, local municipalities and AT&T execs, and I was actually surprised at some of the things that happen.

For example, local towns wouldn't let us bring internet or tv into their town unless they received a "bribe" like paying for a park or resurfacing streets. One town had us be the platinum sponsor for a bike race. You'd think the town would want more competition for their residents, but no. So it wasn't always AT&T that was the evil entity. The whole system is rigged against consumers, but I don't trust any sort of federal law would fix it. It would probably make things worse. My regional bosses didn't even care about net neutrality regulation, they were more concerned about local regulations.

I'm no fan of AT&T and criticize them frequently, but I found the truth to be far different when viewing from the inside.
 

BrettDS

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2012
1,248
377
Orlando
Is AT&T selling regular and 5G plans separately? What kind of world do we live in?
Since when do underlying carrier technologies warrant a separate plan?

It’s not quite like that. All the current plans support 5G, but the problem is that ATT changes plans and options fairly frequently. At least every year or two, but when they change their plans they don’t require people to move to the new plan. As long as you keep paying your bill you can stay on your plan indefinitely. This is often beneficial to the customers because often the older plans are cheaper. But the problem for ATT is that now they have people on plans that haven’t been offered for years or even more than a decade.

They are now refusing to allow these old plans to have access to 5G in the hopes that it will encourage people on the old plans to switch to a current plan.

Interestingly, when 4G became available they took the opposite approach and all ATT plans, regardless of age were eligible for 4G service while Verizon required people to be on a current plan to get 4G service.
 
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kre62

macrumors 68020
Jul 12, 2010
2,183
879
I just don't seem to understand how it works - someone has an iPad with cellular, yet the cellular plans from AT&T (Unlimited) don't provide cellular access for text and data? How is that possible? I don't think it's pay as you go per text/MB of data...

apple / iCloud handles the text forwarding. Of course imessage works no matter what but if you send a text apple will forward it through your phone. No need to worry about att. They probably don’t list it cause you can’t directly sms on their network from an iPad. But apples got u covered dog.
 

zinacef

macrumors regular
Dec 26, 2018
176
162
Following this thread as I just asked a similar question in the forums with no responses.
Wondering if I have to now sign up for a 5G plan as it’s only my wife and I on shared plan.
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2009
1,239
944
They are now refusing to allow these old plans to have access to 5G in the hopes that it will encourage people on the old plans to switch to a current plan.

That would make me switch immediately.
Thank you very much for the clarification 🙏
 

donawalt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2015
518
227
apple / iCloud handles the text forwarding. Of course imessage works no matter what but if you send a text apple will forward it through your phone. No need to worry about att. They probably don’t list it cause you can’t directly sms on their network from an iPad. But apples got u covered dog.

thanks @kre62, butI don't think that's right. See this picture....it needs wifi to work. So if I am out somewhere with my iPad alone, not on wifi, it can't use text forwarding to send/receive messages...right?
 

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