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Monday, July 22, 2013, 11:50 am PT (02:50 pm ET)

AT&T expands Mobile Share plans, adds 2GB for $50

AT&T-based users of Apple's iPhone and cellular iPad will soon have new data sharing options, as the carrier announced new two new tiers in its Mobile Share plan structure, including a new 2-gigabyte plan.



AT&T announced the new plans on Monday, noting that they will become available to customers on Friday, July 26. Customers will now have access to a new low-end 300-megabyte plan, as well as a 2-gigabyte Mobile Share plan.

The 300-megabyte plan will cost customers $20 per month, half what a customer will currently pay for a 1-gigabyte plan. In addition to the $20 plan rate, AT&T will charge $50 per smartphone on the sharing plan. That per-phone charge is $5 more than the charge for the 1-gigabyte plan and new 2-gigabyte plan.

The 2-gigabyte plan serves as an intermediate step for customers unable to keep their data use under 1 gigabyte but who don't need to spend nearly twice the 1-gigabyte price for the 4-gigabyte plan. The 2-gigabyte plan will be available at $50 per month, with a per-smartphone charge of $45.

With the new additions, AT&T's Mobile Share plans now range from $20 for low-bandwidth users up to $500 for much heavier users. The low-cost sharing option could prove attractive to customers newly acquired by AT&T in its recent purchase of Leap Wireless, which operates the low-cost and prepaid service Cricket.

AT&T has been continually tweaking its offerings and services to maintain a lead in the increasingly competitive U.S. wireless segment. The carrier also recently announced AT&T Next, a comprehensive smartphone and tablet upgrade program allowing customers to purchase a new device every 12 months. That program, which requires a monthly fee for 20 months, will launch on July 26, the same day as the new sharing plans.