It’s true that voice continues to become commoditized, but a decrease in unlimited voice packages by $30 each might mean an increase in revenue for Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Initiatives to steer subscribers toward data plans – which, of course, are more expensive and mean more revenue for the carriers – were unveiled at the same time as the voice price drops. With the world going app-crazy, it seems voice plans are falling by the wayside, and AT&T and Verizon know data is where the money is.
So, in order to see net gains, the carriers are implementing new policies to try to encourage voice users to upgrade to data, or just to get users to sign up with data plans at the beginning. For example, AT&T now is requiring users who purchase a non-smartphone device to sign on for a minimum of $20 monthly on texting or data plans. Verizon is making similar stipulations for customers with multimedia phones. Customers with smartphones, with either carrier, are already required to pay monthly data charges.
Analysts suspect other carriers, such as Sprint, will be forced to follow suit on reducing voice package prices.