It wasn’t too long ago that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was complaining about his poor choice of offering unlimited data and saying that Apple’s iMessage was causing him loss of sleep at night. Now the CEO feels that regardless of what AT&T (cough... Stephenson) wants, the company might have to start offering data-only smartphone plans in the distant future to compete with other cellular providers in coming years.
Services such as Apple’s FaceTime and iMessage, as well as Skype, Vonage, and other VoIP solutions are more affordable than ordering monthly phone service from cellular providers. They also work just fine off of the cellular data that smartphones are capable of tapping into. Stephenson envisions a day when people will use their smartphones only to tap into the cellular data, using VoIP and instant messaging services to dodge the high costs of phone and text messaging services.
Originally Posted by Randall Stephenson
With current technology pushing towards more data usage, if data-only smartphone plans were to become a reality in the future, cellular providers will likely find a way to bank off of the data caps to make up for their losses in phone and text messaging services. This could be very bothersome for the end-user. Even with modern phone and text messaging services being made available instead of VoIP services, a lot of smartphone users find it difficult to keep themselves within their small data caps. It would be even harder to remain within cellular data caps if VoIP services were to replace these services as the user would be eating through even more data per month to keep in contact with their friends and family.
Personally, I wouldn't mind the change if it ever came into reality. iMessage picks up the tab for a lot of my messaging, but it's always nice to have text messaging to fall back on when you're not texting an iOS device user or when iMessage fails. Even if the change came into effect, the phone and text messaging services likely wouldn't disappear from the face of the planet; they would probably just be purchased less by consumers.