Author: Kevin Donoghue, CEO - Telesoft
AT&T just responded to Verizon’s Safety Mode offering with Mobile Share Advantage. This program, which is also available for business customers, will end overage charges for subscribers that exceed their mobile data plan allotment. With the new plan, AT&T subscribers who have consumed their monthly data allotment will be able to continue using data services at no extra cost, at a reduced speed of 128kbps.
There are limits though. The 128kbps reduced speed is enough to check basic email messages and view websites with light imagery. However, more data intensive applications for business, data intensive apps, audio and video streaming, and picture and video messaging, won’t work will be frustratingly slow at these reduced speeds.
Each of AT&T’s new plan allotments (table below) comes with Rollover Data, unlimited talk and texting in the US, and unlimited texting from the US to more than 120 countries. It also includes unlimited calls and texts to Mexico and Canada, and “roam like home” in Mexico. Up to 10 lines can be added to each plan.
|New Allotment||Monthly Cost||New Allotment||Monthly Cost||Old Allotment||Old Cost|
|2GB – S||$35||1GB||$30||300 MB||$20|
|4 GB – M||$50||3GB||$40||2GB||$30|
|8 GB – L||$70||6GB||$60||5GB||$50|
|16 GB – XL||$90||16GB||$90||15GB||$100|
|24GB – XXL||$110||25GB||$110||n/a||n/a|
In 2014, T-Mobile started offering data throttling as a way to avoid penalties, and Sprint followed suit. Verizon finally came around to this approach in July with its Safety Mode option. But Safety Mode requires subscribers to “opt-in” to the program instead of discounts being automatically applied to eligible lines like T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T Mobile Share Advantage. Verizon also adds a $5 surcharge for subscribers in its S, M, and L plans.
T-Mobile and Sprint have now taken this a step further with a single offer that banishes data buckets. T-Mobile updated its program with a single unlimited option. It is offering $40 a line for four lines, with unlimited LTE-speed data, where available. The first line is $70 per month, the next is $50, and each additional line, up to eight lines, is $20. Sprint has also updated its program with Unlimited Freedom which provides two lines of unlimited talk, text, and data for $100 per month. Unlimited Freedom costs $60 per month for one line, $40 per month for a second line and $30 each for lines 3-10.
Some prognosticators have begun to predict that the wireless providers will start to raise their prices, but the market appears to be entering a new and more competitive phase. While the opening price points from AT&T and Verizon went up, they are both offering more data. In a competitive market, providers cannot ignore moves that others are making because they will eventually lose business to more competitive offers.
These new options in the consumer market make it more difficult for enterprises to assess their current deals and determine the most cost effective approach for the future. Reporting and plan optimization will require more analysis and more frequent reviews to determine which provider and which offer(s) are best. In addition, the most cost effective approach may vary based on the amount of mobile data each employee uses. For many employees, pooled data plans may present the best deal, but these new plans have to be evaluated closely before reaching this conclusion.Tags: mobile data plans