& cplSiteName &

AT&T Gets 81% of Subs Off Unlimited Data

Sarah Thomas
4/22/2014
50%
50%

AT&T's recent changes in its pricing and subsidy models are paying off; more than 1 million of its customers have moved from unlimited data plans to tiered Mobile Share options.

As of the first quarter, 81% of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) customers were on a tiered data plan -- a 6% bump from the fourth quarter of last year. That's 42.9 million customers who are signed up for usage-based data plans, versus 33.5 million a year earlier. This is a big deal for the carrier as it looks to reduce the number of data hogs on its network.

Despite what CFO John Stephens called a "noisy competitive environment," AT&T managed to add more than 650,000 postpaid customers in the quarter. That net growth -- the strongest first-quarter growth in five years -- was due in large part to the success of both Mobile Share and Next, a plan the company ironically introduced as competitive response to T-Mobile US Inc. (See AT&T Adds 625K Postpaid Subs in Q1.)

Next is the carrier's no-subsidy plan, in which customers pay up front for their handset and can upgrade every year instead of waiting two. More than 40% of its smartphone gross adds and upgrades (at 2.9 million this quarter) were to a Next plans, causing a shift in revenue from services to equipment. Stephens said Next is also driving upgrades to LTE devices. More than 57% of the smartphones on its network are now 4G capable. (See AT&T's Next to Shorten Wait for Device Upgrades.)

"We've seen a dramatic change in purchasing activity," he said on the call. Even so, AT&T has no plans to do away with its subsidy plans, at least as long as there are a "significant number of customers who prefer it."

The CFO said it's too early to have a lot of Next customers trading in handsets yet, but he expects the carrier to use those phones that are exchanged in insurance fulfillment, for the prepaid market, or on the wholesale market, which is what it primarily did with trade-ins last years.

Customer migration to its data bucket Mobile Share plans was also "incredible," Stephens said on the call. The carrier offers Next customers discounted Mobile Share pricing, and he said that 46% of accounts are subscribing to at least the 10GB data option. Mobile Share's overall penetration is 46%, versus 20% in the fourth quarter, with accounts now totaling 11.3 million. (See AT&T Joins Verizon in the Shared Data Pool.)

The carrier also said that it plans to relaunch the Cricket brand, now fully under its ownership, in an aggressive way at the end of the second quarter. (See AT&T Plans a Prepaid Cricket Attack.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(13)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
burn0050bb
50%
50%
burn0050bb,
User Rank: Lightning
4/24/2014 | 2:06:41 PM
Re: Shared Data Migration
Well, I will stay within reach, but I want to use at least 8Gb/month. Then when we get close to the end of the billing cycle, check the data usage. Their app makes it very easy to see where you are.

 
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2014 | 1:00:53 PM
Re: Shared Data Migration
That's a dangerous game to play! Sure, they don't want you to go over because of the traffic, but you're the one that will be playing overages.

And, good point on tethering. I didn't think of that, but it's defintely a data cap buster.
burn0050bb
50%
50%
burn0050bb,
User Rank: Lightning
4/24/2014 | 12:53:50 PM
Re: Shared Data Migration
When I chatted with the person on the web site, they swore it was not an introductory rate, would not go up, etc. (I asked pointedly). Technically, the person wasn't lying. As long as you don't upgrade your phone, it won't go up. But this bait and switch really pisses me off. Had I known these details, I wouldn't have changed my plan.

 
burn0050bb
50%
50%
burn0050bb,
User Rank: Lightning
4/24/2014 | 12:51:00 PM
Re: Shared Data Migration
Well, when you have 2 kids, it's easy to go through the data. We used over 8Gb our first month on the plan. Now that I can use my phone as a hotspot, the kids can watch movies on the iPad when there's no WiFi.

I now plan to use as close as I can to the limit out of spite. They start sending you warnings every 2.5Gigs used to try to scare you into using less.

 
LawD
50%
50%
LawD,
User Rank: Lightning
4/24/2014 | 11:18:46 AM
Re: Shared Data Migration
They are unsubsidized rates, not teaser rates. After a few months, that $25 monthly "savings" can buy one of several handsets that are more than capable for most users. The Lumia 520 which regularly goes for $60 or less comes to mind.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2014 | 8:40:26 AM
Re: Shared Data Migration
It's not something they mentioned to me until they very end of our call when I was switching too. It'll be an issue for my parents in a few months when they're eligible to upgrade. There's value in holding on to your phone as long as you can!
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/24/2014 | 8:38:06 AM
Re: Shared Data Migration
What about the upgrade issue that burn mentions? It's something I was unaware of, but it's a good point. Most people upgrade their phones every 18 months or so (I won't mention how long I had a flip phone).
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2014 | 8:29:14 AM
Re: Shared Data Migration
Ugh, those promotions can really drive you nuts when they end. My U-Verse bill seems to get higher every month and the explanation is always that a promotion ended. But, what you found is the exact reason its Next plans are doing so well too. People may not want them necessarily, but they make they move once they go to upgrade their phone and realize the price bumps that result. Linking the plans and savings together was a smart move for AT&T to get customers to do both, even if they aren't happy about it.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2014 | 8:27:28 AM
Re: Shared Data Migration
I could see where that would be the case, but I'm one of those that joined a Mobile Share plan in Q1 with my parents. I use quite a bit of data -- a lot more than them -- and we are nowhere close to hitting the 10GB cap. You'd have to be a pretty big movie watcher, never use WiFi or have a lot of devices on your plan for it to be an issue, I would think.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/23/2014 | 8:37:02 PM
Re: Shared Data Migration
" the 4 user, 10Gb plan that they tout so heavily for $160/month will quickly jump to as much $260/month once you start upgrading your phones." that is quite a jump @burn0060bb. Teaser rates.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
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 Custom TV
What WTTX Can Deliver

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


Mohamed Madkour explains the benefits of WTTX while Dimitris Mavrakis discusses the challenges of delivering home broadband access.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei on Mobile Broadband

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


Mohamed Madkour shares his vision on MBB for the next three years.
LRTV Custom TV
Analysys Mason Talks About the Future of Digital Operations

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


The future of digital operations has three key aspects: 1. Highly automated operations for both service and network; 2. Highly converged BSS/OSS for business and resources; 3. Highly merged management and control for real-time cloud native operations.
LRTV Interviews
Software Trends in the Telecom Sector

2|23|17   |   03:40   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading senior analyst James Crawshaw talks with Telecoms.com Editorial Director Scott Bicheno about trends and developments in the telecoms software sector and what to expect at MWC 2017.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei's Pre-MWC Analyst Briefing 2017 Highlights

2|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shares its vision for this year's MWC.
LRTV Interviews
MWC17: 5G, Cloud RAN & More

2|21|17   |   04:35   |   (0) comments


Ovum Senior Analyst Julian Bright talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about all things MWC, including Cloud RAN, Huawei's pitch to the industry and the road to 5G.
LRTV Interviews
MWC 2017's Key 2-Letter Terms

2|20|17   |   08:29   |   (1) comment


5G, AI, VR... these are just some of the two-letter terms that will dominate show-floor chat at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, according to these two blow-hards (a.k.a. Scott Bicheno of Telecoms.com and Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre). And then there's PB...
LRTV Interviews
Key Trends for Mobile Operators in Developing Markets

2|20|17   |   06:37   |   (0) comments


Ovum's Matthew Reed talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about the challenges and opportunities facing mobile operators in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/21/2017
Broadband Has a Problem on the Pole
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/21/2017
Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
Sprint to Go Gigabit Crazy at MWC!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
MANO Marriage: ECOMP, Open-O Converge as ONAP
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 2/23/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
No One Likes This Click Here
Take a hint!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.