Users on the 10¢/minute pay as you go and $2/day Unlimited Daily plans must switch to a monthly plan to be able to purchase data packages. There are two monthly plans; $25/month for 250 voice minutes and unlimited messaging and $50/month for unlimited voice and messaging. The $50 plan also includes unlimited data, but only for phones that AT&T doesn't consider smartphones.
The changes aren't all bad. AT&T did substantially increase the amount of data included in the packages. The details changes are detailed on the AT&T website. Here's a table comparing the old and new packages.
|Price||Data Amount (Old)||Old Price/MB||Data Amount (New)||New Price/MB|
|$5||10 MB||50¢||50 MB||10¢|
|$15||100 MB||15¢||200 MB||7.5¢|
|$25||500 MB||5¢||1 GB (1024 MB)||2.4¢|
As before, the data packages do roll over if you add any new data package before the current one expires. So if you buy a $25 data package and have 600 MB left after 29 days, you can add a $5 package to which will give you 650 MB AND extend the data expiration date by 30 days.
For users who already used the monthly packages, the changes, which include more data for the same price, are a good thing. But people like myself who don't talk much and use Google Voice for messaging are going to have to pony up an extra $25/month just to be able keep using data. Or switch to a different operator. See My post Alternatives to GoPhone for Pay As You Go Data summarizing the best non-AT&T data deals.