MEX Notes: AT&T ‘Working On’ Shared Data Plans

  • AT&T 'Working On' Shared Data Plans – AT&T is waking up to the idea of tariffs built around customers rather than devices. At first glance this may appear to be a simple pricing issue: if a customer buys a 1 Gb monthly data allowance, he wants to use it across all his devices to save money. However, for operators, the issue has deep strategic significance. More and more services will be experienced across multiple touchpoints, e.g. a single customer using a phone, tablet and wearable sub-display. Operators could regain significant leverage in service delivery if they make the most of their ability to connect these multi-platform experiences with multiple SIMs, but under a single number and a single customer account. Operators are uniquely positioned to do this, offer price incentives with data tariffs and manage the back-end. However, if they stick to the out-dated notion of one number and one SIM per device, developers will simply use web technologies to build the infrastructure to work around the operators. Operators should seize the opportunity to allow the same number and tariff to be used across multiple devices: it is time price plans reflected multi-platform user experiences. (Further evidence of changing attitudes among operators emerged from Orange in the UK, which is bundling an iPhone and iPad deal in a single tariff).

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