Separating Voice and Data Plans
Redefining the Smartphone
Ever since the iPhone was introduced several years ago, smart phones have seen a burst of evolution out rivaling any modification that we have seen in the past two decades. With each iteration, they grow more and more powerful, and sport increases in memory, CPU power, bandwidth capability and display. It is becoming painfully obvious that smartphones are no longer "phones" anymore. Rather, they are much more like computers that are more powerful than full-fledged PCs were even a handful of years ago. Why then do we still stick to and an anachronistic business model that seeks to tie in mobile phones with voice and data contracts?
Imagine if every time you bought a new PC, you had to also buy a subscription for voice and an Internet connection. Not only that, you were restricted from installing new software on it and were only forced to accept the operating system put in by the vendor. None of us would accept these terms on a device that is fundamentally general-purpose. Why then, do we accept the same for things like smart phones? The reason of course is habit. It will still take a little while before people begin to accept that the phone in smartphone is just another function.
Voice and Data Plans
Given the fact that voice calling is just another function of the phone, does it really make sense to bundle a certain number of voice minutes with every phone purchase? That is merely reinforcing the idea that the primary function of a mobile cell phone is to make calls which is simply not the case. Of course, calling is an extremely important feature but even this need can be addressed using alternative services like VoIP. Mobile VoIP is quickly catching up and it is only set to grow in the future.
These days, there is simply no benefit in putting voice and data services with smartphones. True, they help subsidize the full cost of the phone but customers end up paying more over the lifespan of their contract anyway. The best way to deal with this in my opinion is to purchase the phone outright and subscribe to a hosted PBX VoIP plan that will serve your calling needs. A few mobile giants like T-Mobile are already offering data only plans that smartphone users can enjoy without having the additional burden of voice minutes.
As customers, let's make use of these new technologies to improve the way our services are delivered. It might be comforting to rely on what we already know, but when we have a better solution at hand that also saves us money, why not make use of it?