AT&T will be offering a new type of family plan starting tomorrow (February 2nd) that could save you a bit of cash. The Mobile Share Value Plan includes 10GB of shared data with unlimited talk/text and starts at $130 for 2 lines, and each line you add only bumps the price up $15. Just about anyone can switch to this plan, but AT&T does have an ulterior motive – these new plans are probably designed to get customers off the phone subsidy gravy train.
Any AT&T customer on a 2-year contract is eligible to move to this family plan. Here's the caveat – when the current contract period is up, the Mobile Share Value Plan can't be renewed unless you buy a device at full price from AT&T, bring your own, or sign up for Next. So basically, this is a way to move people away from the 2-year subsidy model. Off-contract Mobile Share Value plan folks that are already on the 10GB or higher tier will be moved to this plan automatically as well. Anyone not already on AT&T can get this plan by signing up with a Next subscription, buying a full-price phone, or bringing one purchased elsewhere.
The new plan is a bit of a trojan horse – on-contract customers save a little on the monthly bill and have more data in the shared bucket, but there's no subsidy at the end of it. AT&T has said it wants to move away from the subsidy model, so this makes a bit of sense in that context. However, things are still quite convoluted – there are several different ways to sign up for AT&T service now. Offering this option to on-contract customers is probably a way to shift expectations so the company can drop subsidies completely down the line.