24-Months Until Carriers Become A Data-Only Pipe?

I wish this had been a quote and been reported more broadly, but as far as I am concerned this article from Fierce Wireless buries the lead: “Stephenson also said that within the next 24 months he envisions some customers moving to data-only plans as voice and messaging become data applications.”

Stephenson is Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T, and this is the first time I have heard a carrier’s CEO admit that there is coming a day when they don’t make money off minutes and texting. Frankly, this will be a great day, hypothetically a day that gets us closer to separating the relationship between the carrier we choose and the devices we choose.

Entrenched interests rarely adjust easily, though, something tells me this quote isn’t as straight forward as it appears. We’ll see.