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AT&T Expects Data-Only Phone Plans Within 2 Years

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-in-any-big-rush dept.

AT&T 97

An anonymous reader writes "AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said today that he expects wireless carriers to start offering data-only cellphone plans within the next 24 months. 'Analysts see such plans as a logical extension of trends in wireless technology. Smartphones with data service can already use it for Internet phone calls and texting through services such as Skype. Phone calls are also taking a back seat to other things people do with their smartphones. AT&T has been recording a decline in the average number of minutes used per month.' He says there isn't a specific plan in the works — he just think it's inevitable."

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Expensive limited plans (5, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187269)

Now you see the real reason they are killing off unlimited plans. they know that data is the future and want to screw us as much as they can.

Thankfully if you manage to find wifi access most of the time you can avoid being raped on 'voice' service, and not use much of the soon to be like gold data ...

Re:Expensive limited plans (0)

glassware (195317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188161)

Why don't we require all cellphone companies to bill based on the number of packets you send via their online network? Then billing would be like your water or electricity bill. If you use more you pay more. Voice packets and data packets and text packets could all be considered equivalent. Phone hogs wouldn't make the network slow for the rest of us; we'd all pay for what we used.

Re:Expensive limited plans (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188285)

But how then would they screw us over?

Other than hidden programs on your phone that send and receive data, of course.

Re:Expensive limited plans (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193959)

Simply don't buy a cell phone from a carrier. There is a bit of a conflic of interests there anyway.

Re:Expensive limited plans (3, Insightful)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189193)

Because the real issue is not packets but concurrent bandwidth.

This is not a commodity problem like molecules of water flowing through a pipe or electrons moving down a wire (although electricity does have a little bit of a dual issue with respect to concurrent use since power generation has to be ramped up or down to meet demand). If you send or receive a packet at 3AM when nobody else is using the lines, it doesn't matter. What matters are those packets you want to send and receive at 5PM in the city when everybody is trying to stream pandora or watch a youtube clip on their commute home.

If you aren't going to support unlimited, its actually kind of a hard problem to solve. Things that made sense with the voice paradigm--local calls being free since there are lots of local interconnects while long distance calls were charged per minute since they only had a limited number of lines in and out of your community--don't make sense in the digital age of packets and little chunks (since you don't need continuous monopoly over a piece of wire). Any sort of price put on data transfer is not related to the cost of sending a packet at all, it is merely an attempt to thwart usage to a point where peak usage is less than peak capacity.

Re:Expensive limited plans (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189955)

Because the real issue is not packets but concurrent bandwidth.

But that problem has been solved already, time and time again.

Off peak electricity can be had cheaper than peak, with a different meter.
Off peak phone calls essentially become free (nights and weekends).
Off peak express/toll lane [wikipedia.org] use is cheaper than peak use.

Demand period billing is easily managed in an industry where you know precisely the time of day that every packet transited the wire.

The problem comes in the uncertainty of the bill at the end of the month. People can budget their $30 bucks or $60 bucks, but how do you budget demand period adjusted usage? Yes, newer phones these days have the ability to keep track of this usage built right in, but the risk of a few dollars overage charge is deterring people from using their phones the way they want.

The whole concept of the need for demand period based billing and data caps is, I suspect, pretty much of a fraud. The carriers aren't even deploying all of the bandwidth they licensed, and regardless of Verizon's protestations to the contrary, they are simply hording it [techradar.com] to justify high prices. I suspect that a complete analysis would show that there is plenty of bandwidth even for peak periods, and it is being artificially constrained.

We went through all of this before with the telephone companies. Its not exactly like they have been playing straight with us up to this point. Its the same game they played on us with "scarcity of long distance circuits". Now I don't know a single person that pays long distance charges. Its free with your basic phone service in most places.

 

Re:Expensive limited plans (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193813)

water pipes would suffer the same problem if everyone decided to flush the toilet at the same time.

the difference being the plumbing network was designed with big enough pipes to handle the typical peak concurrent bandwith/water use...the phone network was not.

Re:Expensive limited plans (1)

bigkahunah (1093791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40198967)

Peak usage in water pipes hasn't skyrocketed over the past few years. You can reliably predict the water consumption of X households for the next decade or more, not true with our ever increasing demands for wireless data.

Re:Expensive limited plans (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40201999)

indeed you are correct, but i still think the gp's analogy was poor. The water pipe could theoretically suffer the same problem as the network. it is just that they spec'ed the water pipe to be big enough to handle the required throughput, but did not do the same with the data network, quite possibly because it wasn't easy to estimate growth for the wireless data usage.

Re:Expensive limited plans (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188199)

Since there's not much competition there either, they're working on making that less of an option. At home, my cell phone connection is, at all times of the day, faster than my router as measured by speedtest.net. Both home connection and cell phone are AT&T. We're not talking comparing LTE to wifi, we're talking HSPA to ethernet connection.

2 years? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187271)

Just get an unlimited data-only stick, throw thew stick away and put the sim-card in a phone. Voilà.
No need to wait a couple of years.

Just SMS, email, surf, skype, whatsapp, etc, don't phone with it or they'll get onto you.

Re:2 years? (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187607)

I believe ATT knows about these things called IMEI numbers and in the past has used them to stop people from buying prepaid phones to replace broken phones instead of having to resign a contract.

Re:2 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188243)

AT&T doesn't care what phone you stick your sim in. I've been on a regular plan using pre-pay phones since at least 2007. Contract ended early 2008.

I just buy a el-cheapie flip. If I break it, who cares.

Re:2 years? (1)

djrobxx (1095215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193929)

AT&T doesn't care what phone you stick your sim in. I've been on a regular plan using pre-pay phones since at least 2007. Contract ended early 2008.

I just buy a el-cheapie flip. If I break it, who cares.

Put your SIM into an iPhone. You'll quickly find out that they care, they just don't care about your el cheapo phones.

Even before the iPhone, AT&T had this technology in place. You could insert your SIM into a different phone, log into AT&T's website, and see the model associated with your phone number automatically change.

Re:2 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188557)

AT&T has never cared what phone I bring in or how I hook up to the network. Since my IMEI numbers are rarely in their databases (usually odd phones not sold by AT&T/sold in USA) they never even add the $20 "smartphone" tax to my bill.

Re:2 years? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40192867)

In the UK, all of the carriers provide data-only sim-only plans. They can't tie the plan to a single device because they are not providing a device to tie it to. Don't US carriers do the same?

Re:2 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193835)

US carriers prefer to rape you in the ass.

and it seems most americans don't seem to care.

Re:2 years? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40210841)

US carriers prefer to rape you in the ass.

and it seems most americans don't have anything they can do about it

FTFY...

Re:2 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40187827)

A MiFi data-only sim does not work for data access in a smartphone with AT&T. I tried and failed before giving in and getting a voice plan.

Re:2 years? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189983)

A MiFi data-only sim does not work for data access in a smartphone with AT&T. I tried and failed before giving in and getting a voice plan.

We are talking about data here. Not voice.
You failed because you wanted voice, but didn't look into a good voip service.

Re:2 years? (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40192853)

No one offers an 'unlimited data only' stick.

They're all Unlimited* and it's the * that gets you.

Oh, but don't worry. (5, Insightful)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187319)

They'll be twice as expensive to make up for that phone bill you're not paying.
Can't have your bill going down now!

Re:Oh, but don't worry. (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188373)

I've had an unlimited iPad data plan in my iPhone for the last two years before they axed the unlimited plan. With a simple APN reconfiguration (easy as pie) on the iPhone itself, I inserted the sim with a sim tray so it fits and was as good as gold. I can do iMessaging with those that have an iPhone/iPod/iPad (or the Messages beta), or google voice for text messaging and receiving voicemails. GV also works for other "free" voice service apps which may (most do) require you to listen to a quick audio advert for a few seconds. I call that a win/win, not needing to pay nearly ½ of what a plan costs today.

Opposite Direction of Where I Thought It Would Go (4, Interesting)

syntap (242090) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187343)

I speculated some time ago that voice minute usage will dwindle down to the point where they would be offered as unlimited on all plans eventually, with the plan levels (tiering) moved from minutes used to data used. Part two was right, but I didn't really expect a movement toward data-only plans.

By the way those aren't new, before everyone had smartphones those of us with Blackberries and older units could get data-only plans.

Re:Opposite Direction of Where I Thought It Would (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187787)

With voice on LTE networks being converted to VoIP anyway, it makes sense.

One day, our kids are going to laugh at us that "minutes" were metered.

Re:Opposite Direction of Where I Thought It Would (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40190239)

VoLTE/VoLGA is currently going nowhere in the US and even more nowhere in the rest of the world. It'll be at least five years we see any type of adoption.

Re:Opposite Direction of Where I Thought It Would (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193847)

One day, our kids are going to laugh at us that "minutes" were metered.

...because metering bits is such an improvement

Re:Opposite Direction of Where I Thought It Would (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194069)

Metering makes sense when there is a finite amount of capacity. Unless you want to be lied to, offered "unlimited", and then complain when throttling to maintain network integrity occurs.

Re:Opposite Direction of Where I Thought It Would (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194387)

my point was the kids don't have much to laugh at us for. they will still be metered. does it matter if it is bits verses minutes?

Re:Opposite Direction of Where I Thought It Would (1)

No2Gates (239823) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188065)

I make usually 1 quick call per day on mine. Most of it is for email for work (I'm in IT support).
At most I use 75 to 100 minutes per month.

In other words (3, Interesting)

joeflies (529536) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187363)

it'll be just like the way that data plans for the iPad work today?? Amazing, he must be able to see the future! It has to be getting cheaper, not more expensive though. An Optus prepaid data plan in Australia costs a $20 for 2 gigs of data. With Skype IP-based text message, you pretty much have voice & text covered. Now compare that to how much AT&T charges for data, voice & text.

So why not offer them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40187367)

Why aren't data-only plans offered already?

Companies are supposed to tailor to the customers.

Re:So why not offer them? (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187637)

You are new here aren't you. You are here for the company, not the other way around, now give me your damned wallet and shut up.

Re:So why not offer them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40187709)

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Cheaper? (2)

daniel78 (2563977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187375)

Since it won't include all those bundled minutes and SMS messages, its going to be much cheaper than current "everything" plans right? right??

Why do i have a nagging suspicion that it won't be...

Re:Cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40190527)

Because the CEO would be fired if the shareholders suddenly made a lot less money.

(and yes, I know that was rhetorical)

another no-brainer (1)

pbjones (315127) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187439)

add this one to the rest of the bleeding-obvious predictions, there are already defacto data only plans for those with G3-Wifi units and iPads. YAWN...

Re:another no-brainer (3, Funny)

pbjones (315127) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187559)

sorry, there are already data only plans for iPads, etc... AT&T is behind the ball.

Not interested. (3, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187451)

I'd rather have a voice-only plan for smartphones.

Re:Not interested. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40187815)

att pay as you go on an iphone. I have no data plan.

Re:Not interested. (1)

SatanClauz (741416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187859)

hell YES!!! Just because I have a "smart" phone, which I only do non-call things where wifi is present, yet they insist on a fucking data package.

Re:Not interested. (1)

knorthern knight (513660) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189343)

> hell YES!!! Just because I have a "smart" phone, which I only do non-call
> things where wifi is present, yet they insist on a fucking data package.

I have 2 (count-em; TWO) cellphones.

1) An el-cheapo pre-paid voice plan on an old Nokia 6015i. http://www.phonescoop.com/phones/phone.php?p=514 [phonescoop.com]

2) An HTC Desire HD http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_desire_hd-3468.php [gsmarena.com] I bought 2nd-hand. I use it as an FM radio, camera, ebook reader, and wifi-based web browser. I haven't bothered getting a SIM card and connecting to a carrier.

Re:Not interested. (1)

SatanClauz (741416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189931)

Well, I'm not too far from you!

I'm actually USING a SE W810i as a phone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Ericsson_W810 [wikipedia.org]

and an iPod touch for radio, camera, etc...

I have a couple "smart" devices that ATT won't let me use without having a data plan. I've been on the phone for hours with those fucks explaining that I won't do anything to transmit data unless i'm on wifi. It doesn't matter, if they see the IMEI of this model phone that is considered "smart" they will throw on a charge for a data package!

Now... I know I can find a way to spoof the IMEI such that it will look like my "dumb" phone. I just haven't really gave enough shits to actually do it.

Re:Not interested. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40187943)

If you are in the US. Airvoice for $35 for unl. talk and text on ATT. Pageplus for cheap voice/text only plans on verizon. WHOLE slew of other tmobile and sprint mvnos offer unl. voice and text for $20-30...

Prepaid is a TON better than contract prices these days, even buying a new phone straight out.

Personally I pay $30 a month for unlimited data on tmobile, I use groove ip and google voice. I pretty much have unlimited talk, text, and data. Much better than the $120 on contract for one of the major carriers.

Re:Not interested. (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40190281)

Or, for the same $35 you could get unlimited data and text on Virgin Mobile and use Skype/Google Voice (or if you're like most people just live with the 300 minutes a month, overages are only $.10/minute so unless you talk more than 5 hours a month regularly it's damn cheap).

Re:Not interested. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215791)

Virgin Mobile is not truly unlimited, in the sense that they will throttle you after 2.5GB. I do not know what speed you are throttled down to, but it isn't exactly the fastest service I've ever used when running at full speed so I don't dare tempt hitting that wall.

You can do voice-only prepay on a smartphone. (1)

su5so10 (2542686) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188017)

I have a Droid with prepaid Verizon ($100 / year) and no data plan. Works great.

Re:Not interested. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40189015)

I'd rather have a voice-only plan for smartphones.

I'd rather have a voice-only plan for heavily subsidized smartphone.

Fixed that for you. You can totally get a voice-only plan if you pay full price.

Re:Not interested. (2)

hendridm (302246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40190551)

I'd rather have a voice-only plan for smartphones.

Really? The thing I least like to receive on my phone is an actual phone call. Send me an e-mail so I can deal with you when I feel like it ._.

Data only plan (2, Insightful)

rjejr (921275) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187461)

But the data only plan will cost as much, probably more, than a calling plan and data plan combined. And if you buy a cellphone w/o a calling plan the smartphone is called a "tablet", not a phone. I'm sorry, it just isn't a phone anymore. I use my iPod Touch all the time for phone calls - Google Voice combined with some random Talk app I found" - but I never call it a phone. Because it isn't a phone.

Bad news is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40187489)

They'll cost the same as current voice, text, and data plans.

Plans (4, Funny)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187491)

Available in 50($50), 500($100), and 1000MB($150) plans, with incredibly low overage fees ($1 per kb).

Addons include a standard messaging plan ($0.20/instant message, messages sent determined by taking your used bandwidth and dividing my the average text message size).
Automatic enrollment in their streaming media plan (only $50/month to stream from any source you currently subscribe to).
And a set of voice packages of 100($20), 200($35), and 500($50) minutes ($1/minute overage fees, minutes used determined by taking your total bandwidth used and dividing by the average VoiP bandwidth usage rate).

Re:Plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193157)

Anybody else outside the US find this ridiculously expensive? I have unlimited data, both self-generated and received, 300 7-6 weekday minutes free, and everything else, including long distance within Canada part of the package for less than $40. I don't even have a very good plan, from what I can tell.

data only pay for incomeing calls and texts (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187495)

data only pay for incoming calls and texts will they let you block calls like you can with texts?

You do get billed for calls going to voice mail even when roaming at the roaming rates.

Will you get billed at the per min rate for 911 use with a data only plan?

Re:data only pay for incomeing calls and texts (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187813)

>>>You do get billed for calls going to voice mail

Well that sucks.
My cellprovider doesn't bill me for voice mail unless I listen to it (and then I'm charged for 1 minute).

Re:data only pay for incomeing calls and texts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188245)

Paying for incoming calls and texts! That is unheard of in the damned socialist country I live in....

My phone plan for the last 3 years:
-a real unlimited, unfiltered data only plan
-1.5Mbps down, 384kbps up
-free incoming calls
-free incoming texts
-option to disable voicemail
-29 EUR/month
-from a telco that doesn't care what devices I use: laptop, mifi, smartphone, dumbphone, they don't care.
-tethering (it's not as if they have control over the devices I use).
-sending texts: 0.25 EUR/message
-outgoing calls: 0.25 EUR/m (only if answered, so if there is no data for voip I just initiate a callback)

I'd buy it (2)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187523)

I'd buy it. The idea of my mobile phone being merely one more extension hanging off the Asterisk system I have installed at home is VERY appealing. Yes, I know, there are all sorts of edge cases (home phone is down, there's an emergency, blah blah blah) and Slashbots love to be stupidly pedantic about edge cases, but by and large this is the kind of thing a lot of people want -- an "extremely cordless phone" that is part of the voice plan (and phone number) they already have. Bring it on.

Re:I'd buy it (1)

RKBA (622932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188075)

The trouble with cellphones is that you cannot have extension telephones. I have a regular land line at home with extension telephones in every room I use. When I tried getting rid of my land line and using a cellphone only, I got very tired of either being forced to carry the cellphone around with me inside my home, or run like hell to try to get to the cellphone in whatever room it was in when it rang.

Re:I'd buy it (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188629)

You are missing the point, the cellphone (without voice remember) is a SIP client to his PBX over either wifi (at home) or 3G (outside). It will ring at the same time other extensions in the house are ringing (if so configured).

Re:I'd buy it (1)

RKBA (622932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189345)

Yes, I should have looked up the Asterisk (PBX) [wikipedia.org] before commenting. Thanks.

Re:I'd buy it (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40190355)

There are cordless [att.com] phones with multiple handsets that will use your cellphone for the outgoing line.

Re:I'd buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188297)

Been doing this for years, phone with data sim is still able to make calls to emergency numers.

How about texting-only plans? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187737)

VirginMobile had one for $15, with unlimited texting. (Calls and data were limited to about 500 minutes and 200MB.) Then they got rid of it. I've not seen anybody else offer this deal so far. It was a real bargain for those who do nothing but text all day long.

They're called "plans for the hearing-impaired" (2)

emarkp (67813) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187791)

I had one from T-Mobile for quite a while. You could still talk for a high per-minute price. Since I rarely used it as a phone, it was a good deal. Since then I've added voice on the monthly plan so I don't know if they still offer the plans.

Nothing new here in Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40187833)

I live in Austria - data-only has been a normal option in prepaid and contract flavours for quite some time now. My tablet is on data-only prepaid, so are lots of "silent SIMs" - burgler alarms, remote sensors, parking ticket machines, you name it

T-Mobile $30 a month plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40187857)

I'm on a $30 T-Mobile month-to-month "plan" that's pretty close to that. I get 100 minutes a month, and unlimited text and data (5 GB at top speed).

With Google Voice, and my phone usage (I can almost always plan ahead for long calls and take them on my computer), it works out great so far.

Uh.... like the existing iPad plans? (4, Informative)

belphegore (66832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40187881)

I guess the dude never heard of his own company's iPad plans, which are ALREADY DATA ONLY

Re:Uh.... like the existing iPad plans? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188815)

Perhaps the news is that AT&T isn't going to slam customers to a voice and text plan if they happen to insert the SIM into a device whose IMEI says "phone".

Re:Uh.... like the existing iPad plans? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40190567)

Those existing AT&T iPad plans aren't really "data only" plans, even those 4G AT&T iPad plans aren't data plans at all. If they were just about data and quotas, they'd allow you to use applications like FaceTime at the very least.

Those AT&T iPad plans are more like Amazon Kindle 3G plans, or some of those cable SmartTV plans. In other words, they're "data that we're getting money for providing to you plans" and sometimes they're "internet browsing plans", but they're certainly not "data only plans". If they were just about data, there would be no artificial distinction between the type of data you'd be allowed to move around as long as you remained within your own quota.

Re:Uh.... like the existing iPad plans? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40191625)

Those existing AT&T iPad plans aren't really "data only" plans, even those 4G AT&T iPad plans aren't data plans at all. If they were just about data and quotas, they'd allow you to use applications like FaceTime at the very least.

Those AT&T iPad plans are more like Amazon Kindle 3G plans, or some of those cable SmartTV plans. In other words, they're "data that we're getting money for providing to you plans" and sometimes they're "internet browsing plans", but they're certainly not "data only plans". If they were just about data, there would be no artificial distinction between the type of data you'd be allowed to move around as long as you remained within your own quota.

Well, if you want unfiltered internet plans, AT&T will sell it to you. Just don't look at the "smartphone" data plans, look at the "laptop" data plans. If you want full IP access, ask for the VPN addon. But don't be surprised when you're paying something like $100/month for 2GB because of it.

Data plans on wireless are differentiated. It's what allows the carrier to offer "$5/month unlimited social networking" type plans, "blackberry" plans all the way through to expensive laptop "internet stick with VPN" plans. Even though the air interface is basically the same (it's sending packetized data).

Re:Uh.... like the existing iPad plans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40192419)

I have had a data only plan for over 3.5 years in the UK. And it was only £7.5 a month for 5GB data (now £8 due to inflation and a VAT increase, and yes when the VAT was reduced a few months after I took the plan out I actually paid less), it was sold with a dongle, but works just fine in a 3G capable phone. Aside from lack of a public IP and the 5GB a month cap, I'm not aware of any limits on my plan.

Re:Uh.... like the existing iPad plans? (1)

bjb (3050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220787)

I've had data only plans for years. Unlimited international, at that.

The big difference is that if I actually make a phone call on that device, it costs me about $0.50/min domestic, and add on the roaming charge for international (e.g. about $2/min in the UK, $4/min in Poland, etc.)

I'm already on a data only plan (1)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188069)

T-Mobile has an "unlimited" data (up to 5gigs full speed) plan with unlimited texts and 100 talk minutes prepaid for 30 bucks a month.

They'll charge for using data once, twice, thrice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188271)

Use your phone's data plan on their 3G or 4G network, they'll charge you.
Use a device tethered through your phone, they'll charge you.
Use your phone on your wifi, they'll charge you. (After all, the data is coming THROUGH the phone you only paid $200 for on a 2-year contract!)

Back to the future..WTF!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188295)

We already have data only plans :P

Wow this guy is a real visionary... (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188321)

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but doesn't the LTE spec eventually make ALL cellular traffic (voice, data, SMS) IP based?

It seems logical that if all services over the entire network are provided via IP, that's what you pay for.

It's a good thing we have visionaries like this guy running corporate america. Without guys like him the BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS might not be so.

Re:Wow this guy is a real visionary... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40190391)

No, there are 3GPP extensions (VoLTE and VoLGA) that optionally do this. Neither has any serious momentum in the US at the moment. Also it will be a long, long time before every tower in the country has a fiber backhaul to enable LTE so phones that can fall back to GSM/CDMA will be needed for the foreseeable future.

You fai7 it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188479)

the project is in is dying. Fact: of even7s tod4y, And easy - only

VIrgin Offers this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188725)

Virgin Mobile is begining to offer data only plans for phones also. Ofcoure they call it data only, but they make you get a couple minutes along with it.. not sure why.

Ring ring... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188923)

Mr. Stephenson? You have a call on the clue-phone from a Mr. Ric Romero. Will you take it?

Seriously? Expects? Within? I have a data-only cell plan today. Not just a phone-with-data plan that I only use for data, but I literally have no way* to even try to make a phone call with my plan.

And I count as something of a late adopter here - A friend suggested I grab a VzW MiFi over a year ago, and I regret waiting until recently to do so. Full disclaimer, though - I have no "real" broadband available, nor even 4G service, but plain ol' 3G beats the fuck out of Hughesnet seven ways to Tuesday.


* I have to admit, I kinda wonder what would happen if I put my SIM card in an unlocked phone, but I neither have such a phone, or any interest in getting one.

Nokia 810 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40189087)

So they are thinking about catching up to the Nokia 810 which ran Maemo Linux?

Too bad the 810 was discontinued.

Stop looking at your own navel America (1)

jiteo (964572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189285)

He expects wireless carriers to start offering data-only cellphone plans within the next 24 months.

You mean like they've been doing in Europe for at least a couple of years now?

I know how it's going to go right now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40189851)

Data only phone plan: $99.50 a month
Phone plan with data and voice: $100 a month.

Phone companies: Obviously voice is important to our users, because no one is doing the data only thing! We have to upgrade our networks so are raising our rates to $130 a month!

Um I already have this... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189943)

i.e the 3g iPad and mobile hotspots. I have a moblie hotspot. It's extremely useful for my line of work as I'm not tied to an office. I pay $50 a month for 6GB of data and have yet to use more than 4GB in a month. Granted I still have cable at home and that's where I do major downloading like software updates, etc..

Voice or Data or Text Only, whichever you want (1)

jcborro (209987) | more than 2 years ago | (#40190291)

Ting [ting.com] already offers data only, voice only, text only, or any combination thereof. Use as much or as little as you want. Add family members or employees for $6. Quite a future.

Re:Voice or Data or Text Only, whichever you want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193121)

My wife and I have been ting customers for three months now. We love it!

Don't trust him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40190341)

Don't trust Randall. His idea of fun is hiding in closets and scaring little girls.

"Unlimited" data plan with a 500 MB cutoff (1)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40190609)

I have an "unlimited" data plan with AT&T. In the 20 months on the current phone I've used approximately 10 gig of data, total. Lately they've been throttling my data service to almost nothing if I cross 500 MB in one billing period. They claim they're still giving data service, but at a "lower" rate. This "lower" rate is so slow a web page cannot load before the browser times out (60 seconds). That is service denial, while I'm still under contract with a fat cancellation fee. Note that they're only blocking web traffic. Email still works, and maps still load.

Think carefully before signing up with AT&T, and if any AT&T people are reading this, yes I am researching what agencies regulate your asses, because you are a utility, and I'm documenting your behavior.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40191407)

But when the internet goes down, how do you call them to see if their problem or yours?

You mean "Bring it Back"? (1)

Vecanti (2384840) | more than 2 years ago | (#40192149)

AT&T used to have something like a data only cellphone/plan. The OGO. It was like $14.95 a month, unlimited text messaging, IM with like MSN, AOL, and Yahoo messenger, and unlimited Email. There was no web browsing, but for email and messaging data it was unlimited and SMS was unlimited. It was great deal back then. Always hoped they'd bring back an updated OGO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogo_(handheld_device) [wikipedia.org]

Minutes = data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40192633)

Everyone seems to think this just means that you can get an internet/text only plan with no voice capabilities or per-minute voice, but I have another theory.

They want to count voice minutes as data (it is transmitted digitally to the cell provide). Same for texts. That simplifies billing quite a bit and allows them to offer "premium" bit rate calls - since they would use more data, it could just be programmed into the phone, and the increased data usage would result in an increased charge.

I know why they've seen a decline in voice use. (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193009)

It's because all the iPhones (at least gen 1, 2, 3, and I don't know about 4) don't work worth a crap for voice and people have given up trying unless it's absolutely necessary. My wife has an iPhone 2 on AT&T in Riverside, Ca., and the chances of completing a call with her are about 1 in 20. Friends with iPhones in dental school in Mesa, Az. were also the same way.

Yeah, I know- they are all just ignoring my calls because I'm such an a-hole...

Excuse me while I don my flame-proof suit...

OK, fire away!

www.whiterabbitradio.net (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40193267)

Africa for the Africans. Asia for the Asians. White countries - For everybody.

We are told there is this RACE problem, We are told this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realise I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?
And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

Already Exists AT&T.. Dont know what you offer (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40193461)

The ipad data plan is data only. and you can take that sim and put it in a iPhone and use it data only.

Did the AT&T guy even know what his company offers?

Some carriers already have it (1)

bobjr94 (1120555) | more than 2 years ago | (#40194991)

Tmobile has it data only plans for a long time. It brought was it out ,somewhat unadvertised, back when the original sidekicks came out (first phone with a keyboard I believe. That phone was a big hit with the deaf and speech impaired community and they had no reason to pay for a voice plan. But as for me, I am being ripped off. My family plans has no options for under 1000 minutes, and we typically use 100 or less a month on 2 lines.

I already have a Data Only Plan?? (1)

krelvin (771644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40195833)

They are already here.
My HotSpot has a Data Only plan now. There is no voice component and doesn't use the phone number allocated to it at all.

Genocide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40196535)

China is predominately Chinese. Japan is predominantly Japanese. In 1965, the United States was 89% White. Nobody is insisting that there is a race problem in Japan or China requiring the problem to be solved by massive non-Chinese immigration into China and non-Japanese immigration into Japan. This occurs in White nations and ONLY White nations.

It IS geNOcide.

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