After announcing its intentions on providing customers with a simple billing method to share the same mobile broadband data plan with multiple devices at last year’s All Things D conference, AT&T Mobility head Ralph de la Vega says that shared data plans are still in the works. In an interview with All Things Digital at the Consumer Electronics Show at the carrier’s Developer Summit, de la Vega confesses that it’s taking a lot longer to work out all the specifics; he did not give any specific timeline as to when shared data plans will make its way to AT&T’s network.
While 2011 saw a large growth in smartphone adoption and the number of tablets being introduced into the market, industry observers criticized that the adoption rate of tablets and other embedded devices remain slow due to expensive hardware and costly data plans.
Under shared data plans, or family data as some are referring it, consumers would no longer need separate data plans for each device they own, ranging from embedded laptops, mobile hotspot units, and tablets. Instead, consumers will purchase data, like they would currently with voice minutes for family plans, and be able to share the data bucket with various devices that they own, making it more cost effective for users to have more than one data-capable device.
AT&T’s rival Verizon Wireless is said to be introducing shared data plans later this year.