Overall, this progression to shared data plans makes sense for everyone. For consumers, consolidating multiple data plans into one giant pool can help save money and remove the headache of managing several different data plans across increasingly multi-device families. For operators, shared data plans open up new revenue opportunities and can potentially lead to more customer stickiness. Additionally, the number and types of devices connected to a network will only continue to grow – for example, cars and home security systems will all have access to the network. Shared data plans create a solid charging foundation and make it easier for families to connect as many devices as desired to their plan. However, despite all of the ease and opportunity these shared data buckets offer both operators and consumers, the challenge will be ensuring this promise of ease is a reality for subscribers. Below are a few considerations for current and future operators transitioning their customers to shared data plans:
- Deliver value – subscribers often have unused data left at the end of the month leading to confusion around what data plan is the best fit. Providing family plans with usage quotas tailored to individual families is a good way to ensure that there is not a large unused allocation at the end of the month, which delivers value to the customer.
- Eliminate bill shock – At the other end of the spectrum of use we must consider that with entire families connecting their smartphones and tablets to the family data plan, there will likely be instances where one or two members may unknowingly run over the allotted data. Offering shared data plans with insight into usage and spend can help families easily avoid the dreaded bill shock, create a more personalized customer experience and optimize the operator’s network resources.
- Provide real-time visibility – recent research has found that 40% of teens have been exposed to some kind of negative or inappropriate activity from others on their mobile device. Although most operators offer guides to safe mobile usage, operators that offer parental controls to monitor their child’s services, set usage and spend limits and to ensure web content is age appropriate, can quickly provide a differentiated value as well as ease a family’s transition to a shared plan.
If operators are able to make this transition to shared data plans as easy as possible for families, and highlight the real savings in cost and hassle, they will be able to increase subscriber loyalty and open up opportunities to offer additional products and services in the future. Loyal customers can lead to happy customers and ultimately, a happy home.