AT&T currently charges $5/mo for a 200 message add-on plan. Figuring the extra five bones into the new iPhone data plan brings the cost up to $35/mo, or $15 more each month than the old plan. Over the course of a two-year contract - the minimum required to activate iPhone 3G - that's a total of $360 more than the old data plan.
Om Malik got a sit down with AT&T Mobility head honcho Ralph De La Vega yesterday, and Ralph said it straight up
"The SMS messages are not bundled anymore, and you pay for what you want."
The rest of the interview, BTW, is a worthy read if you're interested in AT&T's view of how iPhone 3G may "change the game" again.
Considering that, best anyone can tell, AT&T is no longer beholden to the crazy revenue sharing arrangement they had with Apple for the first-gen iPhone, it makes sense that the carrier would want to milk all the data fees they can out of iPhone users. Personally, I'm feeling a little more like sticking with my current EDGE-only, unlocked iPhone (running on T-Mobile) might just be okay for the time being. That's not to say that AT&T is charging an unreasonable amount for the iPhone 3G data plan - it's the same monthly fee that smartphone users pay. Rather, I'm thinking that I already pay for cable modem service at home and at my office; if I'm going to pony up $30+ monthly for mobile broadband, I think I'd look into a 3G data card (or a phone with laptop tethering) to get the most flexibility possible for my dollar.
But, hey, I'm cheap like that ...
Looks like the monthly cost of using the new iPhone 3G on AT&T will go up a little more than I first thought. Not only is AT&T bumping the iPhone data plan price up from $20 to 30, but they're also going to charge for SMS messages on top of that. The original iPhone data plan bundled in 200 SMS for that $20/month; the new one offers no including messaging.