& cplSiteName &

Mobile Data: If the Cap Fits

Dan Jones
1/29/2013
50%
50%

How users use and pay for data on their mobile devices remains one of the most contentious issues on the U.S. wireless scene in 2013. The big four carriers in the U.S. are neatly split between promoting capped shared data plans as the way of the future and preaching unlimited data as the right direction for smartphone users. The two biggest operators -- AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless -- introduced shared data plans in 2012 and are busy promoting them as the way ahead. These plans allow users or families to share a monthly bucket of data between phones and add other devices – like tablets -- for a nominal fee. Both AT&T and Verizon executives declare themselves happy with how this new idea has been adopted by the American mobile consumer. Verizon revealed earlier this January that 23 percent of its monthly subscriber base is now on its "Share Everything" plan. "By the end of the fourth quarter, more than 6.6 million of our subscribers were on Mobile Share," said AT&T CFO John Stephens on the operator's earnings call on Jan. 24. More than a quarter of AT&T's Mobile Share subscribers have more than 10GB in their shared buckets. Sprint Nextel Inc., meanwhile, has long been the poster child for unlimited data plans for smartphones, even featuring its CEO in commercials to extol their virtues. How to treat smartphone customers is what matters most right now. In Light Reading's recent survey on mobile data, 43 percent of respondents said that they expected 50 percent to 75 percent of their customers to be using smartphones by the end of 2013. On that basis alone, unlimited data plans might seem to make the most sense. They are not the only piece of the picture, however, as AT&T and Verizon have larger 4G LTE footprints than their smaller rivals and their top-performing 4G markets are faster. So if a user cares more about performance and coverage than price alone, then the big two could prove to be a better choice. There's another aspect to this as the U.S. gets completely saturated with smartphones. Operators are trying to supplement those sweet, sweet data revenues with traffic from other devices such as tablets, netbooks and even wireless carriers. Well, none of the big four operators offer an unlimited plan for tablets or 4G netbooks; these devices are too data-hungry and can even frighten operators with how much bandwidth they can consume. So, as people look to add devices beyond smartphones, shared data plans that allow you to add a tablet for $10 a month might well become more attractive rather than adding a separate plan for another device. I suspect that Sprint and T-Mobile USA will hold hard to their unlimited plans for as long as they can, since they see them as differentiating them from their larger rivals. In that case, they are going to need to get smart on how they add tablets and other devices to their customers' plates. There are probably ways to bundle tablets with sports and movie packages which, as usual, carriers are being slow to explore. Nonetheless, Pyramid Research is predicting that "2013 will mark the beginning of the end for unlimited data pricing." If that's the case, it's going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight of a year. For more

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Jonestown
Randall Stephenson and John Legere weigh in the Black Lives Matter movement, with AT&T executive telling employees he wants a company conversation, starting with him.
Software-defined radio access networks are coming up on the virtualization menu at some point in the near future.
The idea is simple: a version of LTE that doesn't use much power for IoT applications. But naming it is hard – rilly, rilly hard!
LinkNYC shuts down web access on the street kioks because some people were hogging them and using them 'inappropriately.' Who could've guessed that would happen?
Woo hoo! It's the end of a wretched era.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 19, 1:00PM EDT
Securing a Virtual World
Rita Marty, Executive Director, Mobility and Cloud Security, Chief Security Office, AT&T
Friday, October 21, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Evolving the Data Center
Rasool Kareem Irfan, Head, Telecom & Infrastructure Security Practice, Tata Communications Transformation Services Ltd (TCTS)
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
From Philly, With Love

9|30|16   |     |   (5) comments


Join Alan Breznick, cable's answer to the Italian Stallion, as he runs through the highlights of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, lumbers along in Rocky Balboa's footsteps and searches for the perfect Philadelphia cheesesteak.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SD-WAN Customers Looking for Value Not Cost Savings

9|30|16   |   5:31   |   (0) comments


At NFV & Carrier SDN in Denver, CenturyLink's Eric Nowak told Light Reading that when customers launch SD-WAN, they aren't necessary looking to save money, but instead they are looking for more value from what they're spending. He also shared some unique case studies and lessons learned from launching SD-WAN services.
LRTV Custom TV
Flexible Deployment Approaches for the Gigabit Services Evolution

9|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


For many operators, the gigabit evolution begins with the shift from DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1. But that move represents a change not only in the protocol itself, but in the approach to architecting their entire DOCSIS delivery chain -- from the headend to the outside plant and home gateway components.

Jonathan Ruff, senior director of global technical ...

LRTV Interviews
Level 3 VP: Enterprises Need More for Less

9|29|16   |   05:27   |   (0) comments


Andrew Dugan, Level 3 group vice president of global technology and IT, says enterprises need more bandwidth and they need it faster and with greater security, but they want to spend less, if possible. They are looking to carriers to reduce their network complexity and help protect them from cyberattacks as well.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SDN/NFV Pose New Interconnection Possibilities

9|28|16   |   04:37   |   (0) comments


Network operators should develop new APIs and business processes for reselling virtual assets to each other, says CenturyLink's Bill Walker. That will enable them to build digital business portfolios that help them avoid becoming commodity transport providers.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Overcoming Terror of Being Supplier, Integrator & Developer

9|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Travis Ewert of Level 3 Communications said there is terror in becoming supplier, integrator and developer, but it can be overcome and be cost effective.
LRTV Custom TV
Introducing IoT World News

9|27|16   |   01:43   |   (0) comments


Self-driving cars, medical sensors, smart cities... and refrigerators. In order to address the huge scope of IoT, KNect365 has created a unique online community that will help businesses to understand and monetize the opportunities that live within the IoT market. We look forward to welcoming you to IoT World News -- your gateway to a better connected future.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Reusable Functions Next NFV Key

9|27|16   |   06:03   |   (0) comments


The next generation of NFV has to break functions down into reusable software chunks, making everything much more cloud-like.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy on Security: Attackers Gaining Upper Hand

9|27|16   |   5:10   |   (2) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Ray Watson, vice president of Global Technology at Masergy, says that because of the growth in virtualization, the threat landscape is shifting in favor of the attackers. As a result, service providers need to think beyond just defending the perimeter and take a more holistic approach to security.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (2) comments


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Telefónica Taps Juniper for Network Security
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/26/2016
AT&T CEO Backs Black Lives Matter
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/30/2016
Powell Kills the Cable Show
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/29/2016
Telstra Sees Quadrupled Data Capacity by 2020
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/28/2016
From Philly, With Love
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 9/30/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
There's Nothing Like Missing a Full Minute of Pokémon Go Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.