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AT&T kills cheap data. I'm still cranky.

It's been a couple of weeks now since I learned that AT&T hated me.

Okay, maybe not personally, but certainly they hate the way I use data.

If you haven't been following along with this story it goes like this. I received a text from AT&T, telling me that my US$5 autorenewal data package was boosted from 10 MB to 50 MB. I rejoiced but my glee was short-lived.

Shortly thereafter, readers tipped me off about the bad news: AT&T was about to cancel my autorenewal, insist that I pay an extra $25/month (at least) for a voice service package I didn't want or need. My current data would no longer roll over, which is why I was paying $5/month to begin with. It wasn't about 10MB, it was about keeping my data balance active.

I'm an iOS developer. I try to have live SIMs around for testing during development on my non-contract devices.

Until April 30th, I could spend $100 per year and have a SIM that provided data and voice for light usage. It was exactly what I needed.

Then AT&T changed its policy.

"Customers on certain GoPhone voice plans ($2/day and the $0.10/min option) need to subscribe to a monthly plan in order to use a data package. (Customers on those two plans can still pay a PPU rate for data, of course...) Qualifying monthly plans are the $50 Unlimited Talk & Text nationwide plan for GoPhone smartphones and the $25 Unlimited Text with 250 minutes nationwide GoPhone plan. "

Translated into English, this means: "Unless you pay another $25 a month for a plan you do not need and will not use, coughing up an additional $300/year, your simple and affordable data-enabled SIM is toast."

Great.

So what am I doing? For now, I'm letting my extra SIMs go dark and I'm using my 4S's data exclusively. Meanwhile, I'm trying to wrap my head around why it's so important for carriers to kill a la carte data. It just doesn't make any sense to me, especially when AT&T continues to offer similar plans (admittedly for $15/month not $5/month) on the iPad.

So did AT&T's policy change hit you? How are you taking it and what do you plan to do in response? Let me know. Share in the comments.

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