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AT&T's new unlimited plan drops TV requirement

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2/17/2017 Eli Blumenthal

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An unlimited plan on AT&T is no longer tethered to a TV subscription. 

The nation's second-largest carrier announced on Thursday that it would begin re-offering unlimited data to customers without requiring them to have AT&T's DirecTV or U-verse television service. 

As part of its own new plans, which go live on Friday, AT&T will be matching Verizon's latest plan, offering four lines for $180 with no television subscription service required. A single line is pricier than Verizon at $100, with each additional line running $40 (AT&T does not charge for the fourth line which is how four lines can be offered for $180). 

More coverageVerizon joins the unlimited party with $80 data plan

As with Verizon, AT&T will be slowing down users when they are in busy or "congested" areas if they've already consumed more than 22GB in a month.

The new unlimited offer will include HD video, but unlike the other carriers the company will not be allowing users to use their phones as a mobile hot spot. Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint's latest deals all include 10GB of mobile hot spot data. 

Users traveling in Canada and Mexico can also add a "Roam North America" feature that lets them use their unlimited plan-- calling, texting and data-- in the two countries for no additional charge.  

AT&T last offered unlimited data to non-TV subscribers in 2010, with some customers still holding on to those older unlimited plans. AT&T says that those users are not affected by today's announcement, though in March they will see a previously announced $5 increase that raises the price to $45. There is also a $40 “access fee” on top of that, bringing the total price for those users to $85 per month, still $15 cheaper than a single line on AT&T’s new plan. 

The nation's second largest carrier brought back unlimited data for DirecTV and U-verse customers last year. There is no new discount for subscribers who have unlimited plans that had been tagged to DirecTV or U-verse. 

The move follows a week of wireless industry reshuffling that has seen all four carriers drastically change up their data plans. On Sunday Verizon announced it would be bringing back its unlimited plans, charging $80 for one line or $180 for four lines. 

As a response to Verizon, T-Mobile on Monday announced it would be upping its T-Mobile One unlimited plan to include HD video streaming and 10GB of mobile hot spot, matching Verizon's plan. That T-Mobile plan is $70 for one line, $100 for two lines or $160 for four lines, with taxes and fees included.

Earlier Thursday Sprint announced that it would be revamping its unlimited offer, charging $90 for five lines of unlimited data with HD video and 10GB of mobile hotspot for new subscribers. The nation's fourth-largest carrier is also throwing in a free iPhone 7 for 18 months. 

Verizon's plan is currently available. T-Mobile and Sprint's updated plans will be available on Friday.


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