Data-Only Phone Plans Inevitable According to AT&T CEO
AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson stated that data-only smartphone plans are “likely to arrive” in the next two years. He even went as far as stating that he would be “surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don’t see people in the market place with data-only plans.” According to him, the whole ordeal is just inevitable.
Stephenson now feels that AT&T may need to begin offering data-only plans in order to compete with other cellular providers. This change is mainly due to a shift from traditional voice cell network usage towards VoIP solutions such as Skype and non-text messaging solutions such as Apple’s iMessage. Not surprisingly, Scoople has a poll showing that a full 46% of respondents would go for a data-only plan if it was offered by a provider.
As of right now, AT&T has been working on a shared data plan for families, which is a feature that has been long overdue according to many. This would presumably provide a discount for multi-device households in the long run. That being said, this plan could reduce the bottom line for AT&T. Stephenson cited an upcoming experiment in which content providers will be charged for the data used to access their websites, thus subsidizing users. This idea would give advantages to sites that are large while placing startup sites at a disadvantage.
Based on the poll results and the shift in feature alternatives that are being released, a data-only plan does seem like a cost-effective idea for consumers. We’ll have to wait and see if and when the wireless carriers start to jump on the idea.
Source: AP Technology