So evidently there was a rumor going around that AT&T would offer a special data-only plan so that hearing-impaired iPhone owners could use their phones for data only. This makes sense, it’s a reasonable accommodation, all to the good. But the rumor was only that — no such plan exists, which is a shame. But, they’re working on it, which is good.
Take a step back, though, and what I see is that there exists a huge demand for a data-only service — demand so intense that AT&T anticipates fending off potential customers by requiring medical certification — that AT&T has already decided to thwart. Got that? Eager would-be customers for a service AT&T already plans to offer, whom AT&T has decided it will not serve. Perhaps Mordac, denier of information services, has been promoted to AT&T’s marketing department.
I suspect that this approach is just what Google has in view (according to Harold Feld’s analysis) — the kind of dog-in-the-manger corporate strategy that thinks it can determine what customers should be allowed to want. Time to circumvent the whole dunderheaded system.