AT&T brings back unlimited data plans – if you are a TV subscriber

Really more of a symbolic victory, but if you’re a U-Verse or DIRECTV customer with an AT&T cell plan, you can get back to the world of unlimited data for only $100 per month.

Unlimited data plans disappeared a few years ago as streaming overtook voice as the most common use for a phone, and even those folks who thought they were grandfathered in soon found themselves back on limited plans when they chose to upgrade their phones. Most folks really didn’t mind, as a 20GB plan is really enough unless you’re trying to keep three teenagers supplied with data.

When AT&T announced this morning the return of the unlimited data plan, it really seems more like a marketing move than anything else. Not that marketing moves are bad, but the whole point here is to get people who have AT&T and DIRECTV to combine their bills and start using both services together. Net neutrality rules make if difficult if not impossible for you to have unlimited DIRECTV streaming without having unlimited streaming of everything else, so with this plan you get it all.

The new plan should be available at any retailer offering both AT&T and DIRECTV service starting tomorrow, and it’s likely to be just the first of many innovative and interesting plans from AT&T in the coming months. The company did lose a little ground in 2015 due to the slow pace of the FCC approval process — getting DIRECTV on board was expected to be easy but ended up taking about a year. During that time, AT&T was very careful not to introduce new programs that could slow the process down. With the deal now far in the distance, the marketing machine is cranked up once again and you’re going to see a deal that looks good to you, and I really expect AT&T to beat T-Mobile and Verizon on value across the board.