Unlimited Voice Not Data, New Normal

Posted by Sam Churchill on

A few years ago, cellular companies charged for each call their customers made and gave most of them unlimited data, notes Recode.net.

Now carriers have effectively flipped their business model, with most people now getting unlimited calling and texting and paying for the size of data plans they want.

That transition in the U.S. is now largely complete, with the industry having managed to keep its profits high, while changing the way it does business, says Recode.

A new study from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners finds Verizon has navigated that shift best, with the fewest customers still on unlimited data. Some 51 percent of Verizon customers play more than $100 per month, including 14 percent that pay upward of $200 per month, according to the survey. The same survey found that just 22 percent of Verizon customers have an unlimited data plan, compared with 44 percent for AT&T and 78 percent for both Sprint and T-Mobile.

According to new research from Allot Communications, 85% of operators across the globe now have some sort of “value-based” pricing plan, whether it be shared data, zero-rating apps (free limited data), or a partnership with an over-the-top provider.

More mobile operators are choosing to collaborate with OTT app and content providers. 37% of operators had at least one OTT partnership, up from 26% in 2012. Facebook is the top free social media access app. It allows operators to attract more subscribers, keep them engaged and reduce churn.

Europe is leading the pack with service innovation, followed by Latin America and North America, according to Allot.

France’s Free Mobile is a good example of potential disruption in pricing that could come to the United States.

More than 8 million consumers flocked to Free Mobile as Orange and France’s two other wireless operators, Vivendi’s SFR and Bouygues suffered steep declines in sales. In April, Vivendi vacated the market altogether by selling SFR to Luxembourg-based Altice in a deal valued at 17 billion euros, reports Bloomberg.

Free offers 20 GB/mo 4G service along with unlimited voice and messaging for $US27/month. The Freebox Revolution router, which delivers a triple play of broadband, TV and landline telephone calls to Iliad’s 6 million subscribers, is a big reason Iliad’s stock returned 151 percent in the three years ended on June 24.

France owns 28.4 percent of Orange, previously France Telecom, which is Europe’s fourth-biggest telecom operator. Some in the government were concerned that Iliad did NOT charge higher prices. Orange has decided not to pursue a merger within the marketplace despite encouragement from the French government.

Orange and Bouygues Telecom, France’s third-largest mobile provider, had discussed partnership to buy SFR, but now Altice will merge SFR, France’s second-largest mobile provider, with its French cable unit Numericable.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 9:26 am .

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