AT&T may not be rolling out LTE coverage until the middle of 2011, but that hasn't stopped from from testing exactly how they're going to charge users for access to that 4G network. A newly-leaked AT&T document claims that the carrier will offer two different types of tiers when its LTE service goes live: speed-based and data-based. Data tiers will be similar to ATT's current data tier, offering users either 200MB or 2GB of data per month. Speed tiers, on the other hand, will offer customers LTE data at varying speeds, similar to how home broadband works.
Additionally, subscribers may be able to Top Up, increasing the amount of data available for the remainder of that billing cycle, or Speed Up, increasing data speeds for the rest of the cycle. These new plans are set to go into trials beginning in May, according to the doc.
This isn't the first time we've heard rumblings of a carrier thinking about speed-based data tiers, as Verizon has said in the past that they, too, may offer a similar plan at some point in the future. The speed tiers could offer an interesting alternative to traditional data tiers, especially for those users that are willing to save a little cash every month by settling for slightly slower data speeds. I'm sure that many of gadget-obsessed folks are going to want the fastest data that we can get our hands on, but I could see a lot of mainstream consumers opting for slower downloads. How do you think speed-based tiers will be received? Would you choose the fastest speed available or select one of the slower, but cheaper, options?