A few days ago, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson revealed that the cellular industry would be moving towards data-only plans in the next few years, rather than the separated voice, message, and data system that is used today. Under the new system, voice and messages would be billed as data. The question, obviously, is at what rate they'd billed.
Initially, this may seem like a great idea for both parties. Obviously it allows carriers to get a handle on all the services their customers are using (such as Skype for calls rather than normal voice), as well as sneak in some "toll-free" data services. For customers, they can pay for the cell service as a single (hopefully bigger) bucket and use it as they want, rather than having to balance various smaller buckets.
But if the past and present practices of carriers are any indication, the move may prove to be one that ultimately hurts the consumer in favor of benefitting shareholders. I've long complained that US carriers do all they can to overcharge and gouge customers, and that may be what happens here.
What are your thoughts? Sound off below, and head down to the comments to discuss.