We all knew this was coming sooner or later but today it’s finally official. AT&T has announced their new shared data plans that will help broaden the choices for their wireless customers. Verizon announced similar options last month and now it’s AT&T’s turn. The important thing is they are taking a similar approach with their offering, yet not messing with what users currently have.

Verizon’s shared data plans are decent, but they’ve completely done away with the unlimited data option. They also require users changing plans or upgrading to a new device to use these new plans — thus killing current customers grandfathered unlimited data or other options. This has caused a large stir from customers and it looks like AT&T noticed. While they have a similar outline for their shared data “buckets” changing to shared plans isn’t mandatory, and you won’t lose your grandfathered plans either. High five!

AT&T’s shared data looks a lot like Verizon’s in that you pay a flat rate for your smartphone, then chose from the data options provided. The more shared data or “data bucket” you purchase, the lower the overall price for the device costs. 1GB data plan your smartphone is $45 a month, but 6GB or more a month and your smartphone is only $30 a month. It’s a bit confusing but the image above should help you out. Just like Verizon you can add up to 10 additional devices to use the same data bucket. $10 for tablets, and Laptops or MiFi options run you $20 a piece.

Initial impressions are decent. The fact that AT&T isn’t making it mandatory that subscribers use these plans, and also aren’t completely eliminating grandfathered and unlimited data plans should keep users happy. Unless you’re using more than 2-3 phones in a plan these seem very similarly priced to Verizon. AT&T’s shared data will go live in August. Thoughts on AT&T’s approach?