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New Twists in Mobile Data Pricing

5:40 PM -- The goalposts for mobile data pricing in the U.S. appear to be shifting again.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless have put out plans that include mobile hot-spot usage in the bucket price rather than requiring a separate flat fee for the service.

AT&T is offering the DataPro 4GB for $45 a month, which allows you to use your phone as a hot spot for tablets, laptops and other devices. If you hit the 4GB limit, $10 buys another 1GB.

Verizon has followed suit, offering a $50 4GB plan or a 12GB plan for $100, with the hot-spot service included.

As Light Reading contributor Paul Kapustka says, going with a 4GB plan probably makes sense if you're going to bash your data bucket by consistently using your phone as a hot spot.

You could quickly go over a 200MB limit by adding the $20 option for hot-spot service on the old plans. Still, Kapustka reports that -- at least with AT&T -- being able to use the hot-spot feature is now tied to using the 4GB Data Pro plan.

Which could cut your options if you just need to use a quick burst of personal hot-spot service in an airport or at the beach, or -- heaven forbid -- trying to file a story from a hotel in Vegas on deadline.

This apparent move to lock us in to top-tier data plans to get the desirable features is worth watching, at the very least.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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