AT&T raises caps, prices for data

AT&T Inc. will raise data-plan prices for smartphone and tablet users by $5 a month and increase the usage allotment on each offer to address a 40 percent increase in traffic.

The nation’s second-largest wireless operator will increase monthly fees Jan. 22, according to a statement today. The revised charges, only for new customers, start at $20 for 300- megabytes, $30 for 3-gigabytes and $50 for 5-gigabytes. The previous plans offered 200-megabytes for $15, 2-gigabytes for $25 and 4-gigabytes for $45 a month.

AT&T says the move is not a reaction to the Federal Communications Commission’s blocking of its planned T-Mobile Inc. takeover last year, which CEO Randall Stephenson warned would cause price increases if it failed. Mark Siegel, a spokesman for the Dallas-based company, said the changes will give people higher usage caps as data traffic climbs about 40 percent a year.

By comparison, Verizon Wireless charges $30 for 2 gigabytes, $50 for 5 gigabytes and $80 for 10 gigabytes.