By Aldo Panessidi
AT&T has given the thumbs up to shared data plans, hopefully ending the waste of gigabytes that family plan customers end up paying for every month. AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega announced this week in an interview with CNET that they will be making shared data plans available to subscribers later this year, but he would share no other details.
Family plans as we know them today require customers to pay for two separate lines, each with their own data allowance. Most of the time phone use doesn’t come anywhere near the standard 2-3GB limit, so most of it goes to waste.
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The option to share data usage would allow consumers to buy one chunk of data that can be used across devices including smartphones and tablets. This will at least reduce the amount of data that family plan subscribers needlessly pay for every month.
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Currently, AT&T and Verizon are the two major cell service providers considering shared data plans, possibly launching them sometime this summer. Of course, data plans are where carriers make most of their money, and with the quarrel heating up over device subsidies, we’ll have to wait and see how far AT&T and Verizon are willing to go to improve their pricing.
We’re hoping details of the new shared data plans with be available at the upcoming CTIA Spring 2012 show in New Orleans. AT&T and Verizon will both be there, and they know they’re going to get asked.