Remember the first time you had to pay a fee for your smartphone's data plan? It might have caught you off guard. But that didn't stop you from dishing out $20 to $30 to get the most out of your mobile device.
And as more and more consumers upgrade to smartphones, cell phone companies are raking it in. According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T Inc. saw an 8.7 percent profit increase in its second quarter. It begs the question: Has data become the ultimate promotional cell phone industry product?
The iPhone is particularly popular among AT&T customers. The Wall Street Journal reports that in the second quarter, "AT&T activated 3.7 million iPhones, or about 73% of its total smartphones." With the next generation iPhone due out in the fall, wireless companies are sure to see another surge in sales.
However, AT&T is not alone. Now that Verizon and Sprint Nextel Corp. both offer the iPhone, there's some stiff competition for new customers.