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(Reuters)

AT&T Increases Prices for Smartphone, Tablet Data Plans

By Features FOXBusiness

Thinking of signing up for a smartphone or tablet with AT&T? Prepare to pay a bit more for your apps and browsing. The phone carrier announced Wednesday it will be raising prices for its tiered data plans by $5 each.

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AT&T's current plans are $15 monthly for up to 200 MB of data, and $15 per month for up to 2GB consumed. Starting January 22, the first tier will increase to $20 per month for up to 300 MB of data. The second tier will run $30 for 3GB, and the AT&T Pro plan with 5GB will cost $50 and includes a mobile hotspot and tethering, according to the carrier's Web site.

Those who need additional data can pay $10 per additional gigabyte on their 3GB and 5GB plans. Those on the 300MB plan can receive an extra 300MB for $20 a month.

Tablet data plans will also increase to $30 per month for 3GB and $50 per month for 5GB. The current $14.99 per month plan for tablets, which covers 250MB of data, will remain available, the carrier said.

Those existing customers who are currently on unlimited, 200 MB or 2GB plans have the option to remain as they are at no fault. However, if you choose to change plans and upgrade, you cannot downgrade, according to AT&T.

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Here are three ways to save money on your wireless plan, from Jonathan Geller, founder and editor-in-chief of Boy Genius Report.

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No. 1: Talk to your carrier. Picking up the phone and speaking to a representative at your carrier can help to ensure you are on the best plan possible for your usage. Geller said reviewing the past one to three months of bills helps to pinpoint usage patterns and can help to lower monthly bills. “A lot of carriers now are conscious of all of the taxes and fees that people are frustrated with,” he said. “It can be hard to change (service) plans, but that is always an option as well.” Geller said there are automated sites like BillShrink.com and Validas.com that review your bills to get them lowered, for as low as $5 for service.

No. 2: Review your data plan. Having an unlimited data plan may seem all-important to your high school daughter, but that doesn’t mean even she can use all of the data provided in many plans today. “Everything is more data-centric, but you may not need an unlimited plan” Geller said. “Some plans offer a reduced amount of data for a more expensive price.”

No. 3: Consider a family plan. This tip is only for those who have multiple phone lines, Geller said, but many family plans can seriously impact the monthly bills of those with more than one phone line face. Also, carriers know how competitive the market is and may be willing to strike a deal with you to sign your family. “By calling your carrier or researching, people are saving hundreds of dollars with multiple lines,” he said.

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