AT&T CEO: Data-only phone plans coming in two years

Could we soon be paying just for data plans for our smartphones and mobile phones? That's what the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, predicted could happen and that it might show up in the near future.

An Associated Press story (via USA Today) quotes Stephenson as saying, "I'll be surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don't see people in the market place with data-only plans. I just think that's inevitable."

Wireless phone carriers offer talk and text plans, in addition to data plans, in their contracts. However, more and more smartphones now have apps, such as Skype, that allow users to access their data plans in order to make phone calls.

If mobile phone owners start to cut down on their talk and text minutes in order to use their data plans to accomplish those same tasks, it does stand to reason that some wireless carriers could begin to transition to a data-only business model.

Of course, most carriers now have tiered data plans with caps and overage fees, with Sprint now a rare exception to that rule. Those businesses could generate more money from a data-only contract.

Stephenson states, "It's not us going out and mandating this. The content guys are coming in asking for it. If you don't allow those kinds of models to flourish, you're going to inhibit the potential of these services."

This type of move has been predicted for some time, we even made the claim about a year ago

Source: AP via USA Today

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