In a sign of a coming industry shift, AT&T will next week stop offering new smartphone users a single price for unlimited Internet access. Under the new plan, customers can pay $15 per month for 200 megabytes of data or $25 per month for 2 gigabytes, instead of $30 for unlimited access; those who go over their limits will be charged extra. The move will save most users money, while shifting a larger share of costs to the 3% of smartphone customers responsible for almost 40% of data traffic.
These heavy users eat up a huge portion of the limited airwave spectrum available for wireless broadband, causing slow transmissions and dropped calls, USA Today reports. Rival Verizon Wireless has said it would "make sense" to switch to a similar plan later this year, and Sprint and T-Mobile are also expected to follow suit soon.
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