We all know that 5G is on the way. The first 5G networks are already spinning up
(even if the first 5G phones aren't quite here yet) and the transition is only going to get faster. Of course, what we don't really know is what effect 5G service might have on the wireless plans being offered by carriers. It makes sense the carriers would want to charge more (even if it's more for higher profits than to offset the build-out costs) but until now no carrier had been too open about plans.
T-Mobile had said
as part of its attempt to buy Sprint that 5G service wouldn't cost customers extra (for three years), but if the Sprint merger is doomed to fail as it seems, it's hard to say if that promise will mean anything. And, Verizon is currently charging a $10 premium for 5G in its limited availability right now. In the meantime, AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson said during an earnings call
today that he "will be very surprised" if pricing for 5G doesn't look like wired-line service with tiered pricing based on download speeds. Stephenson said he expects it "to be the case" that those wanting faster speeds would pay a premium and said we may see something like that in the next two or three years.
Of course, it seems like high comedy for the CEO of AT&T to word all of this as though he has no control over the 5G pricing structure. He makes it sound like something that will sort of just happen, as if he doesn't have the power to stop it if he wanted to. At the end of the day, profits will always win over doing anything that consumers might like, so we'd say everyone should get ready for tiered pricing on 5G.