The carrier's Austrian division, Orange Austria Telecommunication GmbH. , charges consumers one flat rate for data that can be shared amongst more than one digital device (with a slight upcharge for every device added), which is similar to how operators in the U.S. charge for voice on the family plan.
AllThingsD first reported on the plans Monday, noting that Orange has for a couple of months had the buckets in effect in Austria for data sharing between an iPad and iPhone. There, 38 percent of all iPads on Orange's network are using the shared data plans, the blog reports.
France Telecom has also launched similar shared data plans in the U.K., France and Spain.
Why this matters
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless have both discussed moving to shared plans as well. As they work to achieve their goal of connecting billions of new devices to their networks via machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity, they know having separate data plans for every device would be a major hang-up for consumers. (See Ericsson's M2M Ambitions.)
This is especially true given that most of the wireless operators in the U.S., including AT&T and Verizon, are moving to tiered pricing, capping the amount of data a consumer can use each month. Having a bucket to pull from would give consumers more control over how their allotment is consumed.
The traditional unlimited, singular device data plans of the past are disappearing in favor of tiers, caps and device sharing. Read up on how the wireless operators in the U.S. are approaching pricing.
- Verizon Sheds a Tier for Unlimited Data
- T-Mobile Shakes Up Pricing Sans Unlimited Data
- 10 Ways to Mind the Mobile Data Cap
- Mobile Data Packaging: A Policy-Driven Revolution?
- CTIA 2011: Throttling & the Data Cap Debate
- CTIA 2011: Which Apps Hog the Most Data?
- Tablet Prep: AT&T & Verizon Shake Up Pricing
- Revenue Still the 4G Question
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile