AT&T’s CEO of mobile business, Ralph de la Vega, revealed the carrier’s plan to offer shared family data plans in the near future yesterday at CTIA Wireless 2012.

Backtracking from previous comments made a few months back regarding the implementation of a family data plan, de la Vega said, “I’m very comfortable with the plan that will be offered to our customers.” Apparently the IT and billing issues de la Vega cited as obstacles in the past have been overcome, paving the way for shared data plans.

While de la Vega failed to get into any specifics regarding the pricing structure and availability, something appears to already be in motion. Verizon has already stated their intent to offer shared data plans this year, and AT&T certainly doesn’t want to fall behind their biggest competitor.

With smartphones starting to overtake traditional cell phones — a.k.a. “dumb phones“— it was only a matter of time before carriers would have had to offer shared data plans to entice wider adoption of mobile devices.

Tablets continue to grow in popularity, and these new shared data plans could help bolster their sales. Most tablet users avoid data plans and instead rely on Wi-Fi to connect to the internet, but shared data plans could change all that.

[via CNET]


  1. My guess is the lack of shared data is probably holding back 50% of those 49.6% of users still using dumb phones. A big win for Smartphones. And a great opportunity for Windows Phone to gobble up some new marketshare.

  2. We don’t know the plan rates or conditions yet, I would not get excited about this yet. We know AT&T as well as other carriers are doing everything in their power to get rid of grandfathered unlimited users like me and baiting them with idea of wrapping a tablet in with a smartphone plan will be tempting. How would Family Data Plans help Windows Phone “gobble” new market share more or less than any other smartphone platform like Android or iPhone?

  3. How would Family Plans help: Mom, Dad, Junior and Sis = $110/month for 3 3GB/$30 plans and 1 300MB/$20 plan. Family Plan = Maybe 5GB for $50 or 8GB for $75. Right now Dad and Sis have Smartphones (probably iPhones) but Mom and Junior are stuck with dumb phones because iPhones “require” a $30/m data plan. New customers looking for cool phones that just work. An iPhone for $199 w/contract or a WP for $49. Let me think. That $300 in phone cost savings will pay the extra $15/month for the Family Data Plan ($180) and leave enough for a nice night out with the family.

    Oh, and no offense. But Androids don’t just work. They require some level of rooting and lots of reading/tinkering to get things the way they need to be.

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