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AT&T raises price for grandfathered unlimited data plans

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NEW YORK — AT&T customers lucky enough to hang on to their unlimited data plans are going to have to pay more next year.

It will cost another $5 per month, bringing the monthly price up to $35. That’s in addition to charges for texting and calling services and other fees.

AT&T stopped offering uncapped data plans in 2010, but people who signed up for the plans before they were banished have been able to hang on to them.

The company said the price hike will start in February, and that it’s the first price increase to grandfathered unlimited data plans in 7 years. The plans are beloved for offering unfettered web browsing and video streaming — no Wi-Fi needed — without facing overage fees.

The current monthly rate for grandfathered unlimited plan holders is $30. For that price, new AT&T customers would get 2 GB per month.

Big data users clog networks, so wireless providers have taken a number of measures to drive customers away from their unlimited plans.

The FCC has criticized Verizon and AT&T for slowing down service for heavy data users.

AT&T was even pegged with a $100 million fine in June for misleading its customers about the plan, though the company disputed the claims and is battling the FCC in court.

Verizon increased its price by $20 in October, making their unlimited data users pay $49.99 each month to keep their plans.

Sprint and T-Mobile also said they will slow down service for unlimited data plan users that exceed 23 GB in a month.