Multi-Device Data Plans: A Distinction without a Difference?
In this continuing series about Mobile Services Monetization, let’s look at so-called Multi-Device Data Plans. Spurred by the adoption of the Apple iPad and Android tablets, many operators have introduced mobile data plans that encourage users to connect these devices to 3G and LTE networks, rather then relying solely on Wi-Fi. These Multi-Device Data plans offer subscribers the ability to have a single contract that allows use of more than one device against a single monthly data usage quota. This provides users convenience, value, and incentives to buy cellular-enabled tablets and other “secondary devices”. Further, these Multi-Device Data Plan have driven higher data use and pushed users to increase to higher-tiered data quotas, according to some operators.
Trying to stand out among U.S. operators, T-Mobile recently announced that for a fee of $10/month, it will allow subscribers to add a tablet to an existing smartphone subscription *and* get a tablet data quota equal to the quota they have signed up for with their smartphone. So for only $10, this effectively doubles the data they can use – but the data quota is not shareable between the two devices. Other operators also let you add a tablet to an existing data plan, but typically do not automatically increase the data quota allotment.
Multi-Device plans are based on a single user with more than one device sharing a single data usage quota. Earlier, we wrote about Shared Data Plans, which are based on a group of users (i.e., a family, or small business) sharing a single data usage quota. This can get confusing. What if some of the individual users in the group’s Shared Data Plan have multiple devices – can this group get a “Multi-Device Shared Data Plan”? Is this a one-off, and how long will it take for the operator to write this one up?!
Expect to see the market evolve, and possibly see the extinction of the distinction between Shared Data Plans and Multi-Device Plans, as operators seek to further simplify their value-priced offerings. But in markets where the adoption of tablets and other secondary devices is still in early days, the capabilities of Cisco’s Mobile Policy and Evolved Packet Core solutions enable Operators to offer Multi-Device Plans that bring monetization benefits, namely:
- Increasing average revenue per user (ARPU) as users add cellular data-enabled tablets to their accounts
- Helping sell higher-priced data plans due to likelihood that subscribers will increase their data quotas to accommodate higher usage across all devices
Read this two-page summary that explains how you can offer your users Multi-Device Data Plans.
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