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Shared Data Plans Coming to AT&T in August

AT&T is officially jumping on the shared data bandwagon as of late August, allowing new and existing customers to share a single "bucket" of data across tablets, smartphones, and other compatible devices. And like Verizon's own data sharing packages, AT&T customers will also receive unlimited calling and texting. Even more, each data plan includes access to more than 30,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots at no additional charge.

"Customers can select one of the new shared data plans or choose one of AT&T’s existing individual or family plans," AT&T said on Wednesday. "Current customers are not required to switch to the new plans, but can choose to do so without a contract extension. There are no changes to AT&T’s device upgrade policy, which means customers eligible to upgrade to AT&T’s best device price are not required to switch plans. The new plans will also be available for business customers."

First customers must choose how much data they want to use each month, and then choose up to 10 devices to attach to the new plan, one of which MUST be a smartphone. Each plan includes tethering and unlimited domestic calls and texts for smartphones and basic or quick messaging phones, the company said.

Here's the AT&T monthly shared data breakdown:

1 GB @ $40 + $45 for each smartphone
4 GB @ $70 + $40 for each smartphone
6 GB @ $90 + $35 for each smartphone
10 GB @ $120 + $30 for each smartphone
15 GB @ $160 + $30 for each smartphone
20 GB @ $200 + $30 for each smartphone

For each basic phone, add an additional $30 per month. Laptops, LaptopConnect cards, and netbooks are $20 each per month, and tablets and gaming devices are $10 each per month. That said, a family with three smartphones ($90), a tablet ($10), a laptop ($20) and a gaming device ($10) sharing 10 GB per month ($120) will pay a base price of $250 per month.

"AT&T Mobile Share allows customers to essentially build a plan to fit their devices and usage. Customers who are more data-centric can choose a larger data bucket. Customers who typically use more voice than data can add multiple smartphones and basic phones and opt for a smaller data bucket," the company said.

AT&T said it will also help users track their data usage by keeping them informed with courtesy alerts as they near their monthly data allowance. Yet customers can also keep track of their data guzzling anytime online, through the myAT&T mobile app, or by dialing *DATA# from their phone.

"We offer customers a broad choice and the best lineup of plans, now enhanced by Mobile Share," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility. "With these new plans, the more you share, the more you save. They’ll be a good fit for a variety of new and existing customers. But if customers want to stay on their current plan or choose from our existing plans, they can do that, too. It’s their choice."

Stay tuned for an actual launch date.