Everyone will eventually go that route. One thing I'm excited about is it should free spectrum up in the long term 5-8 years down the line.
Right now carrier's use spectrum for 1x, 3g and voice. It would probably lead to refarming of 1x and eventually voice. It also gives smaller carriers more options to expand. For example uscc has 10mhz of spectrum covering all of Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, most of Alabama and Kentucky. 10mhz isn't enough for a voice and data buildout but it is enough for just a data buildout as right now uscc is using a 5x5 deployment for their LTE. USCC has similar spectrum positions in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Kansas city where they'd have enough to build out data but Not both data and voice. Those are more business side benefits though, I'm not terribly sure how normal consumers will notice the difference.
Those are more business side benefits though, I'm not terribly sure how normal consumers will notice the difference.
It depends on the "creative" pricing models that get developed in the near term, in in all likelihood consumers will see higher costs for their devices overall.
VoLTE means that Voice is just data, and every carrier is already billing per byte. (On a side note, most metered options are structured to push you into higher tiers, with smaller ones being too small to be useful, and larger ones being significantly pricier.)
In addition to this, Voice usage is trending down, which technically means that people will be able to switch to lower-cost plans. The carriers' solution? Create unlimited plans for all, and charge even more for them to keep up the ARPU on that end. BroadbandReports has a good article posted just today about this. This is likely also related to the realization that in the days of VoLTE, they will have a hard time "double-dipping" - charging users for both metered voice minutes and metered data usage for those voice calls, so they will create the perception that they're increasing value by creating unlimited plans. In reality, they will simply charge you for the privilege of having a proprietary (arguably more reliable) VoIP app on your phone. Skype, in essence, already does all this at a fraction of the cost.
There's no question that the transition needs to happen in order to better utilize the carriers' spectrum. But for the consumers there will be little new value, and likely higher prices.
I'm nit sure my guess is prices remain fairly flat, data costs will go up but the voice costs will disappeared and roughly even out. ARPU today is very close to ARPU in 2008 according to some research I was doing on VZ and ATT quarterly reports.