AT&T forcing iPhone 4S upgraders into new messaging plans | iLounge News


AT&T forcing iPhone 4S upgraders into new messaging plans

While AT&T—thankfully—isn’t forcing prior iPhone users upgrading to the iPhone 4S to give up their unlimited data plans, it is forcing them to choose between one of two message options, neither of which are universally appealing. During the process of ordering multiple iPhone 4S units earlier this morning, iLounge found that if you have a grandfathered unlimited data plan, it will appear to be removed from your account during the ordering process, only to be replaced soon thereafter by an identical option specific to the iPhone 4S. For those on messaging plans other than the pay-as-you-go or unlimited options, however, the carrier is not as accommodating—during the ordering process, those users will need to choose between either a pay-as-you-go or unlimited plan, setting users up for charges of either $0.20 per SMS and $0.30 per MMS message, or $20 per month for unlimited texts, respectively. For a user on a $5/mo. messaging plan, these changes could mean an increasing in charges of $15/mo., which over the course of a two-year contract becomes $360.

AT&T announced the changes to its plans in August, and stated at the time that current customers would be allowed to keep their current plans even when changing handsets. It has not been confirmed, but seems likely, that the move was in part a response to Apple’s new iMessage service, which allows for direct iOS device-to-iOS device messaging, circumventing any carrier’s existing SMS/MMS servers, and thus incurring no additional charge to the user, save for the minuscule amount of data used when away from Wi-Fi.

Related Stories



I had no trouble keeping both my unlimited data and $5/200 messaging plans on AT&T at the Apple store.  In fact, as I checked out my current plans were the default option.  I could change it if I wanted to but the default was still $5/200 messages.  I did have to get my reservation at 5 am since the approval process was always timing out.

Posted by Lynne on October 7, 2011 at 10:24 AM (CDT)


I was able to keep my current unlimited data plan and $5/200 msg plan with no trouble, as well.

Posted by Zac on October 7, 2011 at 12:09 PM (CDT)


At the Apple Store, I was prompted to confirm my data plan with tethering, but it defaulted and kept my minutes and Message 1000 for $10.00 and that came through in the confirmation.  This was after going back to complete a “reservation” after the meltdown.

Posted by John on October 7, 2011 at 12:24 PM (CDT)


I ordered a phone this morning and it kept my $10/month message plan as well as my current data plan. Nothing changed for me.

Posted by Dave on October 7, 2011 at 12:29 PM (CDT)


Was also able to keep my $10/month massage plan and current data plan…

Posted by Chris on October 7, 2011 at 1:14 PM (CDT)


I was given a choice of $20 text plan or nothing. I opted out of a text plan. I upgraded from the original iPhone.

Posted by Paul on October 7, 2011 at 1:54 PM (CDT)


When I checked out I was able to keep my unlimited data and $5/200 text plan, but all the reports are making me nervous. Don’t have anything showing I have those options, and can not log into my account on the apple store, assume b/c everyone is hammering it ordering new phones.

Posted by Alden Wilkins on October 7, 2011 at 2:45 PM (CDT)


Did at&t/apple/etc web site offer the $5/200 text plan. When I’m on the sites I am happy to see my existing unlimited data plan, but I only get the $20/plan or nothing/plan. Do I need to visit my local apple store?

Posted by Brady on October 7, 2011 at 2:57 PM (CDT)


An AT&T rep had told me the day before via chat that I could upgrade to 4S and keep my $5 Messaging 200 plan. So I decided to buy it. However,while my 200MB plan came up as default on Apple pre-order, I was forced to choose between no messaging or the $20 unlimited plan. Chose none, but plan to fight this or return 4S. An addl $15/mo. is way too expensive for someone who texts about 30 msgs a month.

Posted by Dorene on October 7, 2011 at 3:06 PM (CDT)


My experience was the same as Paul’s: I was given a choice of $20 text plan or nothing. I upgraded from the original iPhone.

Posted by Sheila on October 7, 2011 at 6:12 PM (CDT)


What I want to know is, will it let me have NO messaging plan like I do now with iPhone 4?

Posted by AlpacaLips on October 7, 2011 at 10:18 PM (CDT)


AT&T Store rep would leave my unlimited data & $5 messaging plan as is, if I buy the Iphone through them. Meanwhile, I am paying with Apple gift card they obviously could not honor at AT&T. Then, I walked to neighboring Apple Store hoping they could preserve my plan as AT&T rep would do for me. They couldn’t do it because this part of equation is pretty much AT&T’s dealing. On the other hand, they gave me a suggestion to call 611 and asked AT&T to attach a note on my account promising to let me be “grandfather”-ed back if my plan does changes.

I got the unlimited plan during pre-ordering but not the $5/mo messaging plan. Backed with the attached note to my AT&T account, I’ll fight this over. But in case things go bad, time for me to fully-utilize Google Voice texting I’ve been using since I got my first smartphone.

Posted by Erik on October 8, 2011 at 3:26 AM (CDT)


More on above… I called AT&T yesterday after pre-ordering from Apple and being forced to choose either no messaging or $20 unlimited. The rep readily agreed that I should be able to retain my $5/Messaging 200 plan. She put a note on my record, as Erik stated above, stating as soon as the order went through, they would ensure the $5 plan was retained. (I suggest you call their central no. vs. go through the local office - our local office will say/do anything to make an extra few dollars!) Do this ASAP… before the phone arrives… to be sure.

Posted by Dorene on October 8, 2011 at 3:17 PM (CDT)


*shrug* Just use Google Voice for your texting needs and skip the text plan altogether.

Posted by Daniel S. on October 8, 2011 at 8:44 PM (CDT)


Was able to check my order over the weekend, it shows $5/200 text plan as the one selected.

Posted by Alden Wilkins on October 10, 2011 at 9:04 AM (CDT)


I have the $5/mo. 200 text message plan.  I went through the “Pre-order Now” on the ATT homepage.  I was never asked to change any part of my plan, and my order went through.  I was having trouble with the Apple online store and going through my account and trying to upgrade.  However, using the banner link seemed to work.

Posted by JFM on October 10, 2011 at 2:27 PM (CDT)


I currently have the $5/mo plan on an iPhone 4 on AT&T.  I tried ordering through the night of but got constant timeouts and never got through, at least up to 1:00am PST.  I finally ordered using the Apple store app on my phone at 4am PST.  I was forced to choose between $0 and $20/mo with no option to keep my current plan.  I had planned to move to this ONCE my wife’s iPhone is upgraded to iOS 5 (which might be a while, since I’ll wait for reviews and such of how well that is going, maybe the 5.01 release say) before I upgrade her.  But they’re forcing me to cut the text plan early.  Will try the 611 thing as well.

Posted by Glenn on October 11, 2011 at 2:36 AM (CDT)


It is interesting how consumers while not completely happy with the plan changes and the huge efforts needed to upgrade without agreeing to a plan change will still opt to upgrade just to say they have the new iPhone. My take is, if you are unhappy with a change, the only way to make your voice heard is to opt out of the upgrade. With enough discontent consumers the providers would be inclined to listen more than to give the few that complain but upgrade regardless a free pass.

Posted by Odette on October 11, 2011 at 2:12 PM (CDT)


Imessage…..Carries don’t like this feature because they will loose revenue thus the change in message plans.

Posted by P on October 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM (CDT)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy