AT&T confusing some iPhone 4S buyers about unlimited data

Hold off from pre-ordering an iPhone 4S directly from AT&T's mobile Web site if you want to keep your grandfathered-in Data Unlimited plan. Use a non-mobile browser instead.

Over my dead body! Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:33 PT with a correction. The error message preventing iPhone 4S buyers from keeping their unlimited data plans was limited to the company's mobile site. The story was also updated at 12:50 p.m. PT with a comment from AT&T and further clarification.

Are you one of the many iPhone-owning AT&T wireless users pre-ordering a new iPhone 4S today?

If so, you may want to hold off from ordering through AT&T's mobile Web site, for now anyway. Those looking to upgrade their existing iPhone 3G, 3GS, or 4 will notice that AT&T removes the option to grandfather in their existing Data Unlimited for iPhone plan when moving up to an iPhone 4S. Fortunately, everything seems to be fine when attempting the upgrade process in a non-mobile browser.

Even on the regular Web site, it seems the wording on the AT&T page is a bit confusing, according to GigaOM. Some users are getting tripped up over this statement they see while checking out: "Your new device requires a different Data Add-on Plan than you currently have. We selected a compatible Data Add-on Plan for you. If you want a different plan, you can change the Data Add-on Plan by selecting Change here or from within my AT&T after you receive and activate your new device."

An AT&T representative reached out to CNET regarding this story with this clarification: "We're working on making the online page more clear. We are not removing grandfathered unlimited data plans."

The new iPhone 4S. Apple
The error message shown earlier today on the mobile site was slightly comical: "Some services on your current device may not be available and will be replaced by similar services during upgrade. You may add or delete services at any time by logging into your account at ATT.com."

This led consumers to believe that the only available "similar services" were the limited selection of AT&T's monthly data plans, which includes DataPlus 200MB ($15), and DataPro 2G ($25)/4GB ($45). There was no option to usher in your existing plan.

Fortunately, to avoid this mess, just pre-order an iPhone 4S directly from Apple's Web site, without confusion over the grandfathered plan. You can then laugh manically after seeing massive amounts of gigabytes for $30 on your monthly bill.

Of course, AT&T's data plans have been in effect for a while, and are the reason why Sprint--with its unlimited data offerings --looks so attractive.

In addition, those buying into the AT&T data plans should know that after busting through the data limit, AT&T automatically adds another 1GB for $10. The wireless company will keep adding additional $10/1GB increments each time you surpass the limit.

 

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