Speaking at the GigaOM Mobilize conference today, AT&T senior vice president Chris Penrose stated AT&T would soon offer two new options for tablets: a day pass for $5 that provides 250 MB of 4G data, and a $15 option that provides 1 GB of 4G data data that can be used anytime in a three month window. The new plans appear aimed at more casual users as an alternative to hotel Wi-Fi. Tablet sales by carriers and for cellular radio embedded versions have been tepid as most customers have preferred the lower-cost option of Wi-Fi only tablets, then using a tethered smartphone for data if needed.
You couldn't use them for anything meaningful because of how limited they are.
I rarely use more than 1GB in a month. Last month, I used less than 400 megabytes. My wife used less than 100 megabytes.
Our phones are using WiFi at home or in the office. We don't download applications or music while on the cell phone network, and the only significant use of bandwidth is when someone sends us email with a large attachment.
These plans are silly. Drop the monthly fee and just give folks a fully metered plan at .01/MB ($10/GB). I'd bet folks would go crazy over it. At that price, folks wouldn't max out towers watching streaming video and if they make VOIP calls, ATT will get roughly 6 cents a minute (assuming 2x50Kbps channels, 100Kbps total * 60 seconds = 6MB/minute).
Bill directly to a checking-account debit card, on-line statements, periodic e-mail notifications about usage and monthly or weekly billing and be done with it.