As literally everybody and their dog (or kids) gets a mobile device, the need for shared family plans is becoming increasingly urgent. It was difficult enough to afford to get everybody in your family connected with a mobile provider before people had multiple devices –consider how many of you have an iPhone and an iPad!
Fortuantely for those of you signed up with AT&T, you may not have much longer to wait. In an interview with CNET yesterday, CEO of AT&T’s mobile business Ralph de la Vega indicated that the company has plans to offer one soon.
Most people were a little concerned that this day wouldn’t actually be coming, with comments made by de la Vega earlier this year seeming to indicate that AT&T was still quite uncertain over the implementation of family-style data plans. His feelings at that time made it seem like it was going to be difficult for carriers to make any money offering shared data buckets.
The argument of course is that some money is better than none, which is what they would be getting if subscribers can’t afford to sign up –as long as the costs of the required infrastructure are covered. In all fairness, de la Vega did also say that he wanted to be sure that they got it right. This is something we can all appreciate (and hope will actually be the case).
There is no word yet on exactly how the plan will be structured, what the cost is or even specifics on when it will be available. If it doesn’t come out in the next few months, Verizon Wireless just might scoop them. Verizon has been equally vague on the details, other than to say that their offering should be ready by “the middle of the year.”
I think we are going to need to see these details before we get too excited however, with companies like AT&T becoming more fond of tiered plans and throttling connection speeds once a certain threshold is met we may not really be able to functionally share plans with our YouTube and social networking junkie kids.