AT&T CEO: Data-Only Plans Are Inevitable
The cost of data plans at America’s wireless carriers could see drastic increases in the next few years but fear not, those plans will be aimed at non-voice using customers. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was speaking at a Sanford investor conference in New York this week when he said data-only plans will begin arriving to market within two years.
While Stephenson did not specifically say AT&T Wireless was working on such data aspirations he did note that AT&T is looking at potential pricing models for such plans.
The AT&T CEO also notes that the increase in data usage has made it impossible to ignore data-only plans and that at least one carrier would likely soon announce a data-only plan that allows users to make calls and test through alternative services such as Skype.
Voice calling has become less important for customers over the last several years as more users have taken to VoIP apps and other means of communication. AT&T for example has seen a steady decline in the number of phone minutes being used by customers on a monthly basis. However AT&T still receives a bulk of its revenue from calling plans and texting which means data-only plans would likely come with significant price increases to make up for that lost revenue.
AT&T recently announced plans to allow data to be spread across several devices. The wireless company has also examined a system that would allow websites and services to pay for the data used to access them, essentially creating a type of ”toll-free” data network in which AT&T customers lose none of their data when a toll-free data website is involved in the process.
Open internet advocates have argued that larger websites would receive an unfair advantage in the toll-free data network.