How To

How to Keep iPhone 4S Unlimited Data on AT&T

October 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm

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This post has been updated with newer information.

In a move that should surprise no one, AT&T is trying to cheat customers out of unlimited data plans when you switch to an iPhone 4S.  AT&T’s greed is the stuff of legend, and how it treats customers is next to vile, but you can get one up on AT&T and keep your unlimited data plan by doing what any good human being should: stiffing AT&T!  Here’s the breakdown of what happened to GadgetChris:

If you order your iPhone 4S through AT&T, and have an “unlimited” data plan already, you’ll be greeted with a message that says:

You new device requires a different data add-on plan than you currently have.  We selected a compatible data add-on plan for you.  If you want a different plan, you can change the data add-on plan by selecting change here or from within myAT&T after you receive your new device.

The plans it then offers do not include the unlimited plan that you may already be on.

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You can, however, get your grandfathered in data plan by using a method from Cult of Mac’s John Brownlee.  If you snub AT&T altogether and head straight to the source, Apple, you can avoid this hassle.  Pre-ordering an iPhone 4S through Apple, rather than AT&T, will mark that you have an unlimited plan and allow you to keep it.  So, to recap, if you order through AT&T you will be forced to lose your unlimited plan.  If you go through Apple you get to keep it.  Do your duty as an American, and just say no to AT&T.


Reader Michael explains that what is going on isn’t nearly as devious as it appears, just confusing.

I believe this may be a misunderstanding. I have the grandfathered $30 unlimited iPhone data plan on my current 3GS, and my purchase on the AT&T site looked just like the example here. It preselected the $30 plan for my new 4S and despite the same ominous message, I checked out with the $30 “iPhone data plan”.

I also ordered a new 4S for someone else right afterward. That order required me to pick from one of the new data plans ($25 or $45) with radio buttons before I could proceed. That order summary showed a new ongoing monthly $25 fee for the DataPro 2GB plan. It did not offer anything called a “$30 data plan for iPhone.”

Thus I believe that my order and yours are in fact grandfathering the old, unlimited, $30 plan, and the message is just misleading.

In other words, if you ignore this message, you still get your unlimited data plan.  Here’s the question, though: is AT&T trying to trick people out of their unlimited data plans?  We certainly don’t put it past AT&T to try something underhanded to get people off unlimited data.

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