& 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
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
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
Energy 2020: Growing Services, Not Consumption

6|24|16   |   07:18   |   (0) comments


Management of power requirements needs to be a key consideration as cable operators deploy new services, says Dan Cooper, vice president of critical infrastructure for Charter Communications and chair of the SCTE/ISBE Standards Program's Energy Management Subcommittee. In this video, Cooper discusses the importance of cable operators and technology partners ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei & TDC First to Launch DOCSIS 3.1 Trial in Europe

6|24|16   |     |   (0) comments


To meet the rising demands for high-speed broadband and to tackle fierce competition for 1.5 million household, TDC wanted to upgrade its network to use the latest technology. Using Huawei's DOCSIS 3.1 solution, TDC is now able to offer gigabit speeds to its customers.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Summit: Key Takeaways

6|22|16   |   03:28   |   (0) comments


MANO shortfalls, an increasingly bloated open source ecosystem and the cultural challenges for network operators were among the key takeaways from the OPNFV Summit in Berlin.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bringing Ultra Broadband to the South Pacific

6|22|16   |   7:55   |   (0) comments


At Singapore's UBBS 2016 summit, Light Reading speaks to Lim Chee Siong, Huawei's CMO in the South Pacific Region.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper's NFV Platform

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


A telco cloud is a key enabler for service providers to deliver virtualized services to their customers. Juniper has a differentiated approach with an open and comprehensive NFV platform to build the cloud of the future for multiple use cases.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera: The Glass Ceiling's Been Broken

6|22|16   |   4:34   |   (0) comments


Shannon Williams, an engineer by trade and now the director of sales for Infinera's major accounts, draws confidence from being a female in a male-dominated industry and hopes other women will too as industry dynamics swing in our favor.
LRTV Custom TV
RAD Demonstrates SD-WAN Functionality at BCE 2016

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


In conjunction with Versa Networks, RAD demos a joint solution for SD-WAN implementation. The solution uses RAD's ETX-2i, a vCPE platform integrating a powerful IP and Carrier Ethernet NID/NTU with a field-pluggable x86 NFV module that runs Versa's FlexVNF for SD-WAN functionality. The demo implements SD-WAN over a simulated service provider footprint by deploying ...
LRTV Custom TV
Radware on Virtualizing Network Security

6|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


Radware's Michael O'Malley highlights the benefits for service providers of virtualizing network security.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei 2016 UBBS World Tour: Singapore

6|21|16   |   02:39   |   (0) comments


Highlights from Huawei's UBBS World Tour event in Singapore.
LRTV Custom TV
The FlowBROKER Solution

6|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


During a demo at the Big Communications Event 2016, Accedian director of product line solutions Greg Spear demonstrates how the FlowBROKER distributed packet capture solution (part of Accedian's SkyLIGHT platform) can be used to troubleshoot and resolve QoE issues.

FlowBROKER is the industry's first lossless remote packet capture solution, which uses ...

LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2016: Dell & the New World Order

6|21|16   |   22:48   |   (0) comments


Dell's Jim Ganthier on how the very essence of enterprise is being affected by digital disruption – and how the cloud can help companies find a path forward.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2016: The CSP of the Future

6|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Traditional telecom operators have been adopting new ways of doing business from the IT sector and emulating web-scale companies in their technology adoption. Are these strategies succeeding? A panel of experts at BCE considered the evidence...
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
FCC to Vote on 5G Spectrum on July 14
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/20/2016
'Brexit' Vote Hits BT, Vodafone
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/24/2016
Twitter Buys Magic Pony... Not That Kind
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/20/2016
AT&T Settles on LTE for Cellular IoT
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/22/2016
Google Fiber Buys Webpass in Wireless Play
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/23/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
At the BCE 2016 show in Austin, ECI Telecom CEO Darryl Edwards tells Light Reading founder and CEO about the Elastic Network concept and the company's NFV and cybersecurity developments.
Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of SCTE/ISBE, sits down with Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York office to discuss the society's Energy 2020 campaign, including its mission to benefit the environment, enable economic benefits and the key challenges facing cable operators wanting to reduce energy consumption.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.