Here's an interesting play on getting a lower-priced AT&T plan: sign up with T-Mobile! We still recommend T-Mobile as a better value than the larger carriers, but if you feel that AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile has any chance of happening, you could score a great T-Mobile plan now and keep it as an AT&T customer. The additional benefit is that unlike the recent Alltel takeover of some customers by AT&T, you can keep your T-Mobile GSM phone and your coverage should stay intact, although AT&T is known to shut down cell sites with duplicate coverage.
We caught this clever idea from Consumer Reports who quoted AT&T sources as saying that T-Mobile customers, like Alltel customers, should be 'grandfathered' with their existing T-Mobile plans. Oddly, the article was based on a tip that Alltel customers who don't want to be absorbed into big, bad AT&T are allowed to abandon ship and join another network. Where Consumer Reports missed the mark is that they tell readers to join T-Mobile instead. While that's a good choice, most Alltel rural takeover customers don't have T-Mobile as an option.
This could indeed be a nice way to get out of your expensive AT&T plan and into an economical plan with T-Mobile that will serve you well over the short term, and serve you even better if you do land in the AT&T corral. Yes, this makes T-Mobile an even better value than before...no matter what you think the future brings.