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AT&T rolls out unlimited text, voice, and data plans

AT&T rolls out new unlimited plans for texting, voice, and data for U.S customers. But it hasn't yet delivered on its promise to enable tethering for the iPhone.

AT&T on Friday joined Verizon in revamping its calling plans, announcing a series of new unlimited plans across all devices, especially high-end smartphones.

Without tethering, AT&T's unlimited data plans for the iPhone should be taken with a grain of salt. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

The new plans include:

  • Feature Phone customers now have the option of unlimited talk plans for $69.99 a month per person or $119.99 a month for a family plan with two lines included. The unlimited texting plans remain $20 a month for individuals or $30 a month for the Family Talk plan.
  • Quick Messaging Device customers may now choose unlimited talk for $69.99, and Family Talk customers may choose unlimited talk for $119.99 per month (two lines included). These plans require a minimum of $20 per month for individual plans and $30 per month for Family Talk plans in texting and/or Web browsing packages for new and upgrading customers.
  • All smartphone customers, including iPhone owners, can now buy unlimited voice and data for $99.99. For smartphone customers with Family Talk plans, unlimited voice and data is now available for $179.99 (two lines included). Texting plans remain unchanged at $20 for unlimited plans for individuals, $30 for Family Talk Plans.

For customers who don't choose an unlimited voice plan, AT&T still offers rollover, which lets customers keep the minutes they don't use. In addition, the company offers A-List, which allows for unlimited calling to up to 10 domestic phone numbers.

All the new plans will kick in beginning Monday and can be ordered the usual ways, either at AT&T stores or via the company's Web site.

According to AT&T's chief, Ralph de la Vega, the company that claims the "fastest 3G network" currently has more more than twice the number of smartphone customers as its nearest competitor. Vega said the new plans "reflect customers' continuing desire to do more with their phones, including talking and browsing the Web at the same time."

But while the "unlimited" notion sounds very enticing, make sure you read the fine print before signing up. AT&T's terms of service explicitly prohibits users from a long list of data uses and the company hasn't yet delivered on its promise to enable tethering for the iPhone, which would allow users to use the phone as a wireless modem to access the Internet from their computer.