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A loophole means unlimited data for AT & T iPhone

Wed, 01/26/2011 - 9:20am
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Verizon Wireless will start offering the iPhone on Feb. 10 with a draw that AT&T Inc. no longer offers to new subscribers: a plan with unlimited data usage. But The Associated Press has learned that some AT&T iPhone users on limited plans won't need to move to Verizon for all-you-can-eat data.

In an unadvertised loophole, AT&T has allowed subscribers who have had an unlimited data plan in the past to switch back. That includes anyone who had an iPhone before June, when the limited plans took effect.

Jose Argumedo, of Brentwood, N.Y., says he and a friend were switched to an unlimited plan recently after they called AT&T's customer service. Both have iPhone 4s, and previously had earlier iPhone models.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel wouldn't confirm the option to return to an unlimited plan.

"We handle customers and their situations individually, and we're not going to discuss specifics," he said.

The company has allowed iPhone and smart-phone users with unlimited-data plans to keep them when upgrading directly to a new phone. It's the option to return to an unlimited plan after going limited that's been secret.

Another iPhone subscriber on a limited plan called AT&T to see if he could switch to the unlimited one, but was told he couldn't because he hadn't previously had the unlimited version.

The unlimited plan costs $30 per month. There are two limited plans: one that provides 200 megabytes of data for $15 per month, and another that provides 2 gigabytes of data for $25 per month. Above that limit, every gigabyte costs $10.

Two gigabytes of data per month is more than enough for most people.

Argumedo, 23, said he used 4 to 8 gigabytes per month, because he uses video and audio streaming services such as Pandora. He said AT&T restored the unlimited plan after he threatened to go to Verizon.

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