Is Cell Phone (Voice Service) Still Relevant?

On September 3, 2009

The Vonage app was "approved" by Apple today, thereby joining Skype (and I’m sure several more lesser known apps that do VOIP service).  I’m pleasantly suprised by this–it seems to me that Vonage had a much easier time than Skype in getting approved. 

With a choice of VOIP services now available, I started to think about how relevant "voice service" to a cell phone?  While you might be tied to AT&T for service, if you can pick your  ‘voice provider’, does AT&T’s voice service still matter?  I (personally) don’t think so.

I think AT&T could have record profits by dropping it’s voice service.  Think about it: if AT&T dropped it’s voice service completely and only provided data service there would be savings on by reducing the amount of new equipment to buy, decreasing the amount of equipment to maintain, and just maintaining a homogenous network means less problems. 

But what about all the dropped calls? (Probably the biggest complaint you hear about AT&T)  I’m not saying it’s right, but AT&T could almost deflect that by pointing to the VOIP providers.  Just keep the data flowing and all will be better.

What about the money AT&T makes from voice service? Why they could make their own AT&T VOIP app, of course !

What do you think? Will cell providers become just data providers? Or will they always provide voice services as well?