New Data Plans Keep It in the Family

Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s new buckets of data price plans that let both the iPad and iPhone dip in provide a mobile data charging model that operators in the U.S. are likely to soon adopt.

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.

For more
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.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:00:56 PM
re: New Data Plans Keep It in the Family

A data plan per device is not appealing. Even with a slight upcharge to share a pool of data, I think this will make multiple-device ownership more appealing. Consumers may still opt for Wi-Fi in a lot of connected devices, but this seems like a no-brainer for tablets and smartphones.

bkechiche 12/5/2012 | 5:00:53 PM
re: New Data Plans Keep It in the Family

These plans make sense since tethering is becoming an evntuality.

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