Jun 2nd, 2012

We are definitely moving away from voice and texts and replacing them with data. Reaching our monthly allowance has become a feat due to services like Google Voice, Vonage and Skype, among others. And though these can definitely save money, our major concern simply tends to be convenience. So how will the industry change to adapt to our new habits? AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson believes that users could be getting data-only plans within the next 2 years.

“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.” – Randall Stephenson, AT&T CEO

While some people have been making assumptions on such statement, we simply don’t know how such a system would work. Carriers are still making most of their money with voice and text fees. This is something that is quickly changing, though. I, for one, use no texts from the carrier (I use Google Voice) and usually end up with about 80% of my minutes untouched (the 20% is mostly used by others in my family plan). But boy do I use my GB’s – I would say I am ready to move to a data-only system.

But while that sounds like a plausible option, these services can have their failures and glitches. The apps are not always the best. I still like to have my carrier minutes and texts there, just in case. There is another option available, though. As more customers start using data, the price of owning an internet-connected device will increase as voice and text messages become less necessary. This could allow the carriers to possible just charge more for internet and treat voice and text messages as simply another form of data.

We are already close to using VoLTE (Voice over LTE), and text messages can easily become a data service. Not to mention that T-Mobile is already doing something similar with WiFi calling. The future really could be a data-only world.

Let’s be clear about this, though. AT&T did not announce it had any plans of this yet. This was one man’s opinion (even if a significant one) and view on where the market is going. As for our thoguhts, these are nothing but speculations, and we really don’t see things turning that way in a very long time. But having a data-only plan for those that want to use Google Voice and Skype? That sounds very enticing.

What do you guys say? Are you ready for a data-only plan? And if you are like me, and are already doing this, what are your favorite apps and services for voice calls and messages?

[Via: Mashable]

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