Shared data plans difficult to pull off

Nicole McCormick/Ovum
06 Aug 2013

Numerous telcos are examining when and how to bring shared data plans to market. However, with the exception of consumers in the US, the notion of multiple subscribers sharing a single data allowance is completely alien to most mobile customers.

In fact, the concept of sharing data either by the “connected person” or the “connected household” has even proven difficult to get across to some telco executives.

The most important consideration for telcos when devising shared data plans is to keep them simple. However, even if they manage to do this, shared data plans need to be extensively and simply marketed to consumers and sales teams, which will come at a cost. A number of telcos are currently in the process of reviewing their shared data plans, which is unsurprising considering that many are either too complex or not well marketed.

Keep it simple or shared data plans will not be understood

The golden rule when pricing telco offerings is “keep it simple.” While this message continues to be overlooked by some telcos when making general pricing decisions, it cannot be ignored as telcos look to introduce shared data plans. A plan that is too complex will fail, and operators must not underestimate the considerable design and marketing efforts required to ensure that shared data plans are understood by consumers.

Some operators will deliberately make shared data plans unattractive to dissuade too many of their customers from switching to the new tariffs. For example, one telco with a sizeable big-screen mobile broadband business fears that subscriber losses due to account consolidation would be too great if it aggressively marketed shared data plans. Another mobile-only operator has launched a shared data/Wi-Fi offering in an effort to fill its fixed-line product gap. In short, there are many business cases being developed around shared data plans.

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