AT&T considering data-only subscriber plan

“At an investor conference today, the CEO of AT&T Inc. said that data-only subscription plans for wireless networks are ‘inevitable’ as wireless revenues shift more heavily to data rather than voice transmission,” Paul Ausick reports for 24/7 Wall St.

“Data-only plans would force subscribers to use some kind of voice-over-IP plan such as Skype from Microsoft Corp.,” Ausick reports. “Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype earlier this year.”

Ausick reports, “AT&T’s data-only plan only recognizes the reality that the so-called Millennial generation doesn’t talk. It communicates by texting and through social networks like Facebook Inc. and Twitter. The move to a data-only plan has a downside though, and that is a bigger demand for spectrum, already in short supply. How the wireless industry copes with ever-growing demand for bandwidth is the story of the next year or so for the carriers.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

20 Comments

    1. Well what you say if the carriers released a data only plan and Apple unleashed a VOIP service at the same time? Could happen an is not that far fetched.

  1. I never would have believed it, but it seems the telephone is beginning to be replaced by something like a modern-day version of the telegraph; the reverse of what happened 120 years ago.

  2. There are existing solutions for VoIP besides Skype. As soon as this becomes a choice (data-only smartphone plan in US), Apple will open up the store to SIP-based VoIP apps that allow the use of services such as Google Phone.

    On Android, since nobody controls anything, such applications already exist (GrooVe IP is a popular one), and, depending on your data coverage (or WiFi signal), they provide reliable phone functionality, with the ability to latch onto the built-in phone dialer app for handling of incoming/outgoing phone calls. The wildcard in it is the reliability and robustness of data connection, which can vary wildly, disrupting the normal phone conversations.

    VoIP works well on lines with minimal latency and consistent throughput. With mobile data connections, more often than not, it just drops the connection. Voice networks are built with voice in mind, so that they ensure best possible reliability for uninterrupted calls. Data networks can frequently stall, then burst, then stall again, which is useless for VoIP.

    Bottom line: it might work, and work well, but it definitely won’t be nearly as consistently reliable as the traditional mobile voice networks.

    1. I disagree.

      It is my understanding that all cell data these days IS data…. uhmmm can you say “Digital”??

      Whether that data is use to talk to someone, or used to order a pizza, or look at a map doesn’t really matter…

      Now, all the carriers may prioritize the voice data over regular data, but it’s all just bits.

      1. You may disagree with an opinion, but in this case, I’m stating facts and not giving opinions.

        It may be all data in that it is bits of ones and zeros, but there are definitely fundamental differences, in the ways data packets are handled, between voice/text data and internet data. As I said, handling voice data is designed to be much more robust, with lowest possible latency. There are much fewer such QoS concerns with delivering TCP/IP data.

        So, even though it all may technically be digital data, there is definitely fundamental difference between the voice segment and the IP segment, which makes VoIP much less robust for voice calling than regular, dedicated voice network segment.

    2. Voice networks are built with voice in mind, so that they ensure best possible reliability for uninterrupted calls.

      Ah, you’re not an AT&T customer then.

      1. My at&t service is awesome. I’m so glad I switched from Verizon when AT&T got the iPhone. I couldn’t be happier. Many of my friends have since done the same. Especially at the release of the 4s!!

      1. As I said above, that is simply incorrect.

        While it all is “data’ (in that it is series of ones and zeros), there are fundamental differences in network protocols and ways these data packets are handled. Voice data travels on much more robust protocols, with significantly lower latency, than the internet data. They are NOT interchangeable, and they are fairly independent of each other (which is why you can often have a voice signal, but no 3G signal).

        It is disingenuous to lump it all together like that, since it is NOT the same.

  3. Here in the UK, we can buy SIM-only data plans for iPads. The company I use sell packages of 500MB for £5 ( US $7.60 ) per month through to 3GB for £12.50 ( less than US $20 ) per month. These deals do not involve a contract, you can buy bigger data packages in some months and less in others, or simply stop buying for a while or stop altogether whenever you want.

    When sensibly priced deals like that are on offer, it’s silly not to opt for a 3G iPad, rather than just a WiFi one.

  4. Take a look at line2 for both iOS and Droid I have used it for years when you package your cable you are using Voip. I have all the other tried them all line2 is buy far the best

  5. Sooo how about Data and Textimg with no voice?
    That’s really all I need, given that I never use anywhere close to the required minimum of 450 on Verizon.

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