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C Spire Crafts Apps-Inspired Data Plans

While all the operators are toying with the idea of apps-based data pricing, regional wireless operator C Spire is diving right in. The carrier revealed this week it's been working with Openwave Mobility to offer new pricing plans that are driving its customers toward more data usage.

C Spire has been offering its customers Choice and Shared data plans based on services like video streaming and tethering for the past year. So far, they've brought in $3.5 million in revenue from the 300,000 customers who've signed up, according to Indranil Chatterjee, Openwave's VP of product management, marketing and strategy.

The plans let C Spire customers buy a la carte "passes" for premium data services like mobile video usage or tethering right when they need them. An online dashboard allows them to monitor their usage to avoid overage, but Chatterjee says that about 25 percent of C Spire's customers are topping up their data plan when they reach that limit.

Openwave is also powering C Spire's Share data plans, in which its customers can buy a capped data plan to share amongst devices or family members.

"The ability to tell them real time what's going on with their plans, how much usage they've done, and tell them to buy or upgrade their plan -- that's a critical element to drive monetization," Chatterjee adds, noting that the plans let C Spire's customers pay only for what they use, rather than subsidize heavy data users.

C Spire has been active in the Service Provider IT (SPIT) space, making over its business -- starting with the name change from Cellular South to C Spire in 2011 -- to be the most personal carrier. It also offers a rewards program with social media tie-ins that is helping it sign up new customers. A C Spire spokesman says the carrier's goal is to create more personalized services as well. Last month it began deploying Tekelec's Diameter Signaling Router to get started with services like VoLTE and third-party apps.

Separately, Openwave announced Wednesday it is combining its Integra4 services platform with deep packet inspection vendor Sandvine's policy traffic switch to offer operators a complete way to introduce Layer 7 services like targeted video optimization, real-time pricing similar to what C Spire has instituted, parental controls and self-care.

Openwave operates at the app level, while Sandvine sits deep in the network, and Chatterjee says the companies make a stronger pair than if they tried to pitch their services to operators alone.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Sarah Thomas 4/18/2013 | 2:56:07 PM
re: C Spire Crafts Apps-Inspired Data Plans Even more C Spire news today -- the carrier is working with Sprint on LTE roaming across multiple spectrum bands. Sprint's angling to be the little guys' hero by working out roaming deals with all the smaller players in the US. Great news for their (regional operators') customers.

Sarah Thomas 4/18/2013 | 2:41:59 PM
re: C Spire Crafts Apps-Inspired Data Plans The key to these plans, like any, will be how easy they are to understand and manipulate, if C Spire expects its customers to change them on the fly. The plans seem pretty traditional on C Spire's web site, but I believe that's because the changes happen on the smartphone itself. Makes sense to me to have it be the point of sale. All goes back to that simple interface and experience though.
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