During Ralph de la Vega's session at D9 today, the AT&T Mobility boss tipped that his company is actively working on a shared data plan that would allow customers to split a single data bucket among multiple devices -- a concept pioneered by Rogers in Canada several months ago and mentioned by Verizon more recently as it deploys LTE and moves away from unlimited plans. He wouldn't say when it's coming, but we'd have to imagine it's in the near-term pipeline.
The move doesn't come as much of a surprise. Carriers are clearly still looking for ways to optimize data plans while weaning byte-hungry smartphone users off unlimited buckets -- a situation virtually all American carriers (with the notable exception of Sprint so far) have called untenable -- and at the same time, they're looking to sell you as many 3G- and 4G-enabled devices as they possibly can: phones, tablets, netbooks, laptops, the list goes on. Activating individual data plans for each of those devices isn't affordable or practical, but looping a bunch of them into a single plan might sit better -- in fact, AT&T executive Glenn Lurie mentioned as early as last December that the company was looking into shared plans -- but it all pivots on whether we can get enough gigabytes for our dollar, of course. That remains to be seen.