T-Mobile in the USA saw branded post-paid churn of 1.3% per month in Q1 2015 down 43 base points from the previous quarter. This is a phenomenal level of post-paid churn and is made all the more impressive as T-Mobile does not lock its customers into time bound contracts. As part of its ‘UnCarrier’ initiatives T-Mobile have rolled out a range of new propositions for consumers. For me the most interesting is its Rollover Data variant called ‘Data Stash’. As part of its post-paid mobile plans, the data you don’t use in a given month rolls over to the next month. For example a mobile customer with 1GB of data included in their monthly allowance only uses 650Mb in that month. The remaining 350Mb rolls over to the next month giving them 1.35GB to use in the following month. It’s a construct that customers seem to like with post-paid net additions of 1.8m and record low churn proving its popularity. AT&T, who were the initial pioneers of the construct in 2007 with rollover voice minutes, matched the offering for their Mobile Share customers.
As with all good mobile propositions or any idea for that matter, its beauty lies in its simplicity. The customer gets what they paid for in the first place. Consigning un-used data to the bin is like your favourite barman chucking your gin and tonic down the drain just before closing time. He feels like he is justified as he wants to go home, but you would have liked the chance to finish your drink first!
The only other documented examples of Rollover Data have been in Tele2 in Sweden and Virgin Mobile in Australia with their Data Rescue offering. The people at Virgin Mobile Australia even went as far as publishing their consumer research on the idea. They polled 1,059 Australians and 94% of them think it’s unfair that something they have paid for is taken away with no second chance to use it. But if Rollover Data is such a net adds driving, churn reducing, all singing all dancing idea, why has it not been instantly mimicked by operators the world over? The key reason is that operators’ BSS lacks the flexibility to turn around new propositions quickly. The process of creating new balances to enable Rollover Data would give most Product Delivery Managers nightmares but, a fully functioning centralized offer catalog reduces the complexity down to a ‘rollover’ check box in an easy to use GUI.
If you want a smaller portion of your customers getting rolled out of the bed each month and churning, give Rollover Data a try, but not before putting in place the most flexible BSS you can find.