AT&T CEO says he wouldn't be surprised to see data-only plans within the next 2 years

AT&T CEO says he wouldn't be surprised to see data-only plans within the next 2 years
We love our smartphones, right? Especially when they perform some magical things we used to dream about in our sleep. Not only can we order a pizza through our smartphone, but as we’ve come to expect, data has become a central figure that drives our devices to their potential – without it, we’re seemingly at a standstill.

Well, it seems that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is anticipating the inevitable day when we’ll see someone offering nothing more than data-only plans – as opposed to finding voice attached to it. Since the early days, voice plans have been the central aspect of most wireless plans. However, data is still considered a secondary plan feature attachment to complement the primary voice plan.

In an investor conference this week, Stephenson surmised the idea of a time when carriers will offer only data-only options to its customers. In fact, he said that he’d "be surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don't see people in the market place with data-only plans." Needless to say, it’s not an outright confirmation that AT&T will be stepping ahead in that direction, but rather, it’s something that the industry will be pondering about over the next couple of years.

Surely, there’s a good likelihood that it’ll become a reality, as 4G LTE networks have shown their superior speeds over most things out there – including good old wired connections. Nowadays, data is regarded as the primary thing that most consumers think about when choosing a plan, seeing that other forms of communication have been seen to be more favorable than voice calling.

source: Yahoo via Engadget



1. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Sweet. They already have data only plans for business customers, soon consumers will get a bite of that too. I'd love for my Lumia to be data only, I never do anything else with it.

20. Gawain

Posts: 452; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

...and when that day arrives, this clown Stephenson will still be whining about the failed T-Mobile merger, the need for spectrum and blame the customer for all of it...

2. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Yeah. Data only plans. And you assholes will continue to cap it at ridiculously low levels unless we pay ridiculously high prices. The disparity between wired and wireless connections is pathetic. 50 dollars a month will get you a 250 gigabyte cap on a wired connection at LTE level speeds, while a wireless LTE connection at 50 dollars a month only gives you 5. f**king. Five.

6. items17070

Posts: 70; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

I couldnt agree with you more Sniggly, if this 'GREED' trend continues, ill just got back to 'wired' services.. and maybe most people will too, and watch the cellular word collapse, just like the housing industry! lol, Lets face it, I had ATT for 10 years, when I opened my account back in 2001, it was cingular, and it only cost like $35month, that included minutes and 'FREE UNLIMITED TEXTING' NOW, TODAY a basic plan for ATT is $79 plus tax! and thats only 450min/month$39.99 and unlimited text$20(pathetic) and $20 for 300GB(joke) , so by the time you add taxes and the total comes to about $88/month! if the 'GREED TREND' continues, people will be paying a car payment per month for there cell phone accounts.. UNLIKE GAS prices, at least the consumer can 'revolt' very easily!!

13. hepresearch unregistered

Revolt? You mean stop using a mobile device? How are we going to do that, when we can't even stop using our motor vehicles when gas prices go up to some sordid figure? People have been, and still are, replacing landlines with mobiles, replacing PC's with tablets, replacing hard-drives with cloud-storage, and replacing wired internet connections with wireless ones. What is going to happen if people start leaving their mobiles to go back to landlines? The prices on landlines will go up... the caps will become a feature of wired connections as well, and there will be no escape. How do you communicate in a system where everything, wired or wireless, is a data dumb-pipe that only goes by your subscriber limit based on how much bandwidth you could afford to buy? You won't be streaming too many movies anymore. You won't be downloading tons of music anymore. You won't be video-chatting quite as much anymore. You won't be surfing the internet too much anymore. If you are an employee of a business that buys service for you, you will probably be able to communicate plenty for work purposes, but otherwise you will be paying a ton of money for you personal stuff. Your pictures will go straight from your camera to Instagram or Photobucket or wherever, but once you hit your limit you'll be done taking pictures. I suppose your minutes and texts won't be unlimited anymore, either. How will you comminucate when everything is data on some IP-based subsystem connection, and the cost of data goes through the roof? I figure it'll work about the same as your ability to drive your gas-electric hybrid when gasoline finally costs $40.00 a gallon... There won't be a revolt. We will simply wallow in our inability to afford the means to do anything that costs an outrageous amount of money. Our lives will be irrevocably altered by it.

21. items17070

Posts: 70; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

oh thats right! SORRY, your the type that needs to be TOLD how to think! like the media guieds alot of peoples thinking too, take me by the hand and ill show you how,, and yes silly! we need to get around by using gas to go to work! and shop for food, you DO NOT need a cell phone, and there are plenty of companies offering land line services! there are alot of companies still using analog fax, and tv cable boxes and security alarms that need to communicate by landline (some home alarm systems do communicate by cellular) just because you dont notice it, doesnt mean its not still being used, but then again, you need your thinking guided, so I did it for you! sorry you comparison of needed gas over a cell phone is absolutely not even in the ball park! you obviously do not get out much, PC's are not being replaced by tablets, just in your mind they are, still in corp america there are plenty of PC's, and who wants to see a 10inch screen when I can use the 24 or 27inch screen on the computer!! and have no clue why you would be so silly to even try to watch a movie on mobile data, unless your on sprint! you seem like a very OLD man with WALLS around you!

22. hepresearch unregistered

Yeah yeah yeah... whatever helps you feel more secure in your idea that I am out of touch...

3. GuiltyBystander

Posts: 199; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

Good for the US people. Data only plans have been available where I live for years now.

4. Gcombs

Posts: 136; Member since: Aug 22, 2011

Data only plans already exist like with tablets, air cards and hotspots.

15. GuiltyBystander

Posts: 199; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

Yea, I know. I meant for smartphones.

18. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

I interpreted this story as "data only" means that data will control voice and texting also. Like there is only data and nothing else, not just subscribing to data and nothing else. Voice services will fall under data. I could be wrong, but that's how I took it because there are already data-only plans for certain devices.

5. theoak

Posts: 324; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

I only have a data only plan. iMessage works great for those with iDevices. Don't need to text ... that is what email is for ;)

7. havoxx

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 01, 2012

If you look at why the pricing is the way it is, the companies have to charge us more, unlimited users want want want, yet don't understand what a huge strain they put on the network, have you not been watching the issues with the spectrums that are quickly filling and eventually will be bloated? Or more important, do you know how much each tower costs, and how long it takes to be up because of FCC legal crap?

10. items17070

Posts: 70; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

I think you better 'rethink' what you think! because the wireless world is not that much different from the OIL/GAS industry, its all about the dollar! dont believe everything you hear! capacity/spectrum is not a problem! espcially with the LTE,, if you think there is a HUGE strain on the network, well I have a HUGE brige I want to sell you! your deluded, and you need to clear your mind and get the REAL truth!

11. items17070

Posts: 70; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

and BTW, I dont know of any 'problems' (issues) that you say everyone has been complaining about!

8. Snap123

Posts: 33; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

I could have sworn i read an article somewhere that says within the next couple years data will become so cheap it will cost about $1 for each GB used. I think once that happens then people will want data only plans. More and more people are using VOIP service for talking. Its not the best right now because there is delay with these services but at least it works. I think once there is an established LTE nationwide people would glady use VOLTE if that means cutting off the $40 bill most people pay for their mins right now. If there is a data only service for $50 a month for 50GB i'd gladly pay that although i doubt id even use that much data.

9. Hunt3rj2

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 11, 2011

A 100 minute voice plan with unlimited sms and 4 GB data plan at 40 dollars a month would be fantastic.

14. TechyMexican

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

T-Mobile's $30 plan seems to fit your description perfectly.

12. kindlefireowner

Posts: 504; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Tmobile/Walmart is the best cheap smartphone plan. For $30 you get 100 minutes, unlimited text, 5GB of data at 4G speed. I wish they add some more smartphones.

16. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I'll be piss if HIS GREEDY A$$ hole got rid of our voice calls. Not everyone cant afford your over price cap data. Just because everyone is on facebook on their phones instead of just talking u act like u can do what u want. Dont piss us off again.

17. Beholder88

Posts: 86; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

I could do data only, as long as the price was reasonable and the data cap wasn't too low. Google voice allows me to use my data connection as a phone line anyway, so I wouldn't be losing out.

19. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

Data-only is the way it should be. You will still be able to make calls and text the same way you do now. But all the voice and text services will be transmitted on the network as only data. Actually, I'm very surprised to hear a CEO say this because it puts them one step closer to becoming a "dumb-pipe." That's what these carriers are fighting to avoid, becoming a pipeline for data with no control over anything that travels along it.

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