AT&T: Voice, Texting Plans Will Give Way to Data-Only

The leader of one of America’s biggest telecommunications companies believes the cellphone industry will move to data-only plans in which phone calls and text messages would be classified as just another form of data.

“I’ll be surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don’t see people in the market place with data-only plans,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said at an investor conference in New York, The Associated Press reported. “I just think that’s inevitable.”

Stephenson, though, cautioned that AT&T doesn’t intend to roll out such a plan.

However, AT&T has expressed an interest in rolling out shared data plans that would enable families or businesses, for instance, to access the Web on multiple devices like a smartphone and tablet computer. AT&T’s biggest rival, Verizon Wireless, has announced plans to introduce such an offering later this summer.

U.S. wireless carriers continue to evolve their data offerings, partly reflecting increasing burdens on their networks due to the skyrocketing demand for wireless data since Apple’s iPhone was introduced five years ago.

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