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Using an AT&T phone on a pre-paid customer basis no longer excludes data services

Fri May 2, 2008 - 12:11 PM EDT - By Jay Gross

AT&T has added a Feature Pack to give their pre-paid customers the option to use their data network. It's the same unlimited data service as their other plans, and the add-on costs the same.

The company named the new feature "Unlimited MEdia Net for Pay As You Go." That's capital ME, as in first-person singular. Cute, eh? For $19.99 a month — same as on their monthly plans — pre-paid customers can use MEdia Net on an unlimited basis.

The wonders of your smartphone, Treo or Centro, magnify with a data plan. However, take it from me, you definitely want the unlimited version. The data opens up internet radio, "over the air" software updating, and checking the weather with Blazer while you're traveling (raising hand, pointing at self). I'm sure you can think of other uses, too.

If you're on AT&T, with their Pay as You Go plan, you have to dial 611 from your smartphone at the beginning of each month to re-add the Feature Pack to your account. If you're on their older GoPhone Pick Your Plan plan, you can call AT&T Customer Service to switch to Pay As You Go service – and then call them every month to re-up.

Give 'em a day or two to get better organized before you call. When I looked around AT&T's website for some direct links to pass along, I engaged one of their live chat agents for help. I asked where a link might be to the new feature and got this answer: "The pay as you go service does not offer the data service." Guess the news hasn't yet filtered down to whatever planet their help chat is on.

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