AT&T: Only one iPhone 3G data plan; speeds ‘much faster’ [updated]

Following reader comments and questions, iLounge contacted AT&T to clarify ambiguous details on iPhone 3G service plans, which will be offered starting on July 11. We asked AT&T to clarify its stance on text messaging, which presently is included in AT&T’s $20 EDGE data plans for first-generation iPhones, but is not listed as an included feature in its $30 3G data service plan for iPhone 3G. Mark Siegel, Executive Director of Media Relations with AT&T Mobility said only that the company would “discuss details of data pricing, including text messaging, closer to launch.” When asked if iPhone 3G users, such as those living outside 3G coverage areas, would be able to sign up for the prior EDGE-only data plan instead, Siegel told iLounge that “[t]here is one price for the data component,” suggesting that the $30 a month data charge will apply to all iPhone 3G users regardless of the available service in their immediate area. When asked about Apple’s claim that performance of the 3G iPhone would be roughly 3 times current EDGE speeds—significantly slower than the 3G network’s capabilities—Siegel also told us that “depending on the situation, the [3G] download speeds can be much faster than mentioned by Apple. I think they were simply being careful in what they said and not overstating a claim.” We will continue to track reader inquiries on these topics and follow up with AT&T leading up to the iPhone 3G launch.

Update: Asked if new AT&T customers will need to go through an in-store signup process, and if existing iPhone customers will need to go through the same process, Siegel responded simply: “Activation is in-store.”

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