Data bucket plans cater to connected crowd

Nicole McCormick/Ovum
14 Jun 2012

After a significant amount of discussion and hype, “bucket plans” are beginning to gain traction around the world.

Bucket plans are a tariff structure where a monthly data allowance is shared between all of a user’s connected devices.

Spanish incumbent Telefonica is the latest tier-1 mobile operator to launch a bucket plan, and US operators Verizon and AT&T Wireless are expected to follow suit in June 2012 with their LTE services.

With the ownership of multiple mobile broadband devices increasing, it was only a matter of time before operators made it more convenient for users to manage their various data plans. For an operator, launching a bucket plan makes the customer “stickier” as having one contract stops users from picking the best smartphone, tablet, or dongle plans from different operators.

Bucket plans also reduce subscriber acquisition costs, which will have a positive impact on operators’ profitability and margins.

However, data buckets often mean that multiple plans are combined into one, which presents the significant risk of revenue cannibalization.

Bucket plans are cheaper for customers

Telefonica, Canadian operator Rogers Wireless, Hong Kong operator CSL, and Norway’s Telenor are just some of the growing number of operators that offer data bucket plans. These plans are typically aimed at the “connected person” who owns a smartphone, laptop, and tablet.

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