AT&T CEO Says 5G Phone Plans May be Tiered Based on Speeds

Right now, wireless carriers offer a set price and customers expect the best possible network speeds when available. If a plan is tiered, it’s usually based on the amount of high-speed data you get on a monthly basis (with reduced speeds after that set allotment). But if AT&T’s CEO has any say in the matter, there might be even more tiers for phone plans in the future thanks to 5G.

During AT&T’s recent earnings call, the wireless carrier’s CEO, Randall Stephenson said that the carrier may implement tiered structures for 5G mobile plans. And those tiers will be decided based on speeds. If that sounds similar to how home broadband options are priced, that’s apparently what Stephenson is leaning towards. Unsurprisingly, the faster speeds would cost more.

“I will be very surprised if, as we move into wireless, the pricing regime in wireless doesn’t look something like the pricing regime you see in fixed line,” Stephenson said. “If you can offer a gig speed, there are some customers that are willing to pay a premium for 500 meg to a gig speed, and so forth. So I expect that to be the case. We’re two to three years away from seeing that play out.”

However, the potential good news here is that Stephenson admits that we’re still several years away from that becoming a reality. 5G for mobile devices is still a few years out before it’s the standard network option while out in the wild. It’s worth noting that AT&T does have 5G mobile service out there right now in 19 markets, but, for now, the only device it has that can access it is a mobile hotspot. AT&T does have plans to launch Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G variant in the near future, though.

The big question at this point is how the other networks, mostly Verizon and T-Mobile, will respond to this with their own 5G plans rolling out around the same time. Right now, Verizon charges $10 more per month for 5G access (which is only available in a Moto Mod for one specific phone), so it will be interesting to see what changes as 5G becomes the standard.

And keep in mind that this isn’t AT&T’s lackluster and misleading “5G E”.

[via The Verge]