AT&T to phase out per-minute, per-text billing

AT&T will no longer offer per-minute billing plans to most of its new customers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Following the industry trend towards unlimited talk time and texts, the company will only offer one per-minute plan, a meager 450 minutes per month for about $40, plus extra for texts and data. It will focus most of its revenue efforts on data plans, thus joining Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in the trend.

The reason for the shift is that voice traffic is declining while data is rapidly rising industry-wide. The voice and text aspects of cell phone plans are increasingly being used as value-added bait for per-MB data plans. To wit, AT&T's data revenue rose 17.6% in the third quarter this year, while revenues from voice, texts and other products fell 2.6%.

The company will continue to allow existing customers to stay on per-minute plans. Verizon and Sprint, which stopped offering new per-minute plans over the past year, are going the same route, letting customers ease into the newer paradigm. Meanwhile, T-Mobile will be forcing all customers into unlimited plans in the coming months.

Another reason for the shift away from voice- and text-based billing is that most networks are moving to VoIP technologies for all services. High-speed, LTE and VoLTE networks for data transmission will soon bear the burden for most cell phone communication applications.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal