AT&T CEO Predicts Data-Only Wireless Plans Within 2 Years
According to CBS News, instead of having separate options and pricing for calls, texts, and data, mobile carriers will fold all three into one “data” plan. AT&T isn’t necessarily saying that it’s developing such a plan, but Stephenson called the trend “inevitable”. This new plan format would also likely allow users to share data usage across multiple devices.
It will be a tricky balancing act for any carrier to make this work; voice, text, and typical data are very different beasts. For example, a voice call uses very little data with the current technology it uses, while a streamed HD video burns through the megabytes like fire though a tissue paper factory. On other words, not all data in created equal.
With the continuous rise of VoIP and video-chatting services, under this predicted shift, it’s possible that voice calling as we know it will eventually vanish. Essentially, that would turn these mobile carriers into full-on ISPs. That wouldn’t be much of a stretch for the bigs, as the likes of AT&T and Verizon already offer Internet service beyond just what mobile devices need.
An interesting development will be to see how mobile carriers would then compete with current, non-mobile ISPs. Might there be a flurry of mergers and/or acquisitions, or perhaps some bloody turf wars? Whatever the case, here’s hoping a major development will be price wars amongst the various parties vying for consumer dollars.