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The time is now for shared data plans

Mobile devices and user habits are continually changing as people around the world demand more data in more places than ever before – and now is the time for mobile data plans to evolve to keep up with their mobile broadband demands. You can check out the infographic for a quick look on how to lead the way with shared data plans in the mobile broadband world.

In US, there are more mobile devices than ever, with subscribers using – and expecting to be able to use – their smartphones, tablets, cameras, laptops and other tools to get online wherever and whenever they want. Research indicates that by 2016 more than a quarter of the world’s population will have more than one mobile device, while author and mobile guru, Tomi Ahonen, told us that the average user looks at their mobile around 150 times a day. We’re using devices more than ever, which means we’re using more data than ever too.

A changing mobile business landscape

These changing user habits have forced a shift in the way that mobile carriers make their revenues today. Mobile users now spend around half the time they used to on voice calls, while analyst, Chetan Sharma, share with us that data revenues are poised to eclipse legacy voice and SMS is on the decline as well. Subscribers know what they want and are not afraid of leaving a mobile carrier to move to a rival – customer churn has hit an all-time high. All of which means a need to change thinking at the mobile carrier level.

Check out the infographic

Time to change the business model

So as subscriber habits have changed, so too has the need for carriers to approach end-user needs and expectations differently. People’s preferences and ways of using mobile data have changed, which equates to a need for different types of mobile data plans to address this demand. They want instant gratification, more control, efficient uses of their mobile data and they even want to manage the experiences by themselves. Essentially people want an easier, more personalized mobile data service which they can enjoy on their own terms.

Back in the mid-2000s voice plans changed to become mobile voice and SMS combined plans which gave subscribers more choice and options, but the time has come to change again. The declining revenues offered by voice and text coupled with the dramatic rise in mobile data demand has led to the next stage in the evolutionary process.

Sharing is the way forward

The fact is that the modern generation of users – be they Gen Y, digital nomads, digital immigrants or whatever else – now takes sharing for granted. Whether it is news and information on Twitter, thoughts and feelings via Facebook, photos over Instagram or videos on YouTube – putting everything into a big pot with your friends and family has become second nature.

US carriers have already introduced innovative data plans allowing users to purchase buckets of data to share among multiple devices. These plans also include unlimited voice minutes and SMS, with flat access fees for each device. These flexible plans give subscribers greater agility and choice and are really the beginning of a true business model shift for mobile carriers – to enhance the mobile data experience for customers, you have to adapt the mobile data experience to their wishes and expectations. It’s only a matter of when not if.

New models, new revenues

The evidence is compelling. Not only do shared data plans give people more control and a greater feeling of choice over their mobile data usage, but they also encourage them to spend more – a benefit for mobile carriers.

Additional benefits to carriers include being able to drive fast 4G LTE device take-up while removing competition on voice and SMS. Carriers can also enjoy reduced OPEX through less of a need for contact center interactions, while their brand gets a boost through an improved customer perception and loyalty. Customer satisfaction on shared mobile data plans has been shown to be higher than that on traditional plans, at 78 per cent, while customers signed up to shared plans also now spend $30 more per household per month. The message is clear; customers want shared mobile data plans now, so what are you waiting for?

We’ve done it before and we can help you mobilize data sharing, too, by connecting more people and mobile devices to 4G networks faster, encouraging mobile broadband usage and helping transform mobile business models.

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