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AT&T juices up its most expensive wireless plan with one key advantage over T-Mobile


AT&T is going to bat for its high-flying, high-paying customers by boosting several amenities in its Unlimited Elite service plan and International Day Pass for data needs while traveling. These upgrades bring the carrier into line with what T-Mobile offers for its top-tier subscribers.

With new bill cycles starting this week, Unlimited Elite customers will no longer have a high-speed data cap, meaning that they won’t be throttled based on how much data they use — that cap was set at 100GB previously.

Mobile hotspot allowances also grow from 30GB to 40GB and the cellular streaming video resolution cap jumps from 1080p to 4K. AT&T is also promoting its free ActiveArmor security features including identity monitoring and safe browsing through the AT&T Mobile Security app.

These features seem intended to close the gap between Unlimited Elite and T-Mobile’s equivalent plan, Magenta MAX (indeed, T-Mobile public relations are circulating a predictably brash statement in response to these changes). While T-Mobile provides a complimentary Netflix Standard plan for MAX accounts — which allows for up to two simultaneous streams at HD resolution — AT&T has advantages in owning HBO Max (at least until its WarnerMedia unit gets spun off to Discovery sometime in 2022) by being able to provide up to 4K streams for free to each Elite subscriber. Of course, network quality and your taste in content catalogues may also factor into deciding which is the better value here, but those are up for debate elsewhere.

All of this, however, goes back to attracting clientele who can and will afford all these luxuries. AT&T Unlimited Elite costs $85 per month for one line and $200 per month on four lines. T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX costs the same on a single-user basis, but only $170 per month with four lines.

Ma Bell is also reforming and enhancing its International Day Pass program which it introduced in 2017. Previously, travelers would have to purchase a pass to get unlimited high-speed data, voice, and text at any of more than 210 supported destinations for $10 per line per day.

Now, costs will be capped: additional lines on the same account can go global for $5 more per line per day. Furthermore, account holders won’t be charged more than 10 days of international use per line in each monthly cycle, but will retain all their benefits throughout. For those looking to keep their domestic number while abroad, that means it won’t cost more than $100 a month on top of their current bill to do so.

International Day Pass will now also be automatically applied when a customer crosses borders, foregoing the need to pre-pay.

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