Five reasons why AT&T loves shared data

Written by on April 14, 2015 in Guest Blog with 1 Comment

Family portrait while cookingOptus (Singtel – Australia) announced today a new shared data plan for families.  Funnily enough, an industry colleague sent me an email recently with the title – AT&T Attracted 2 Million Customers in Just 5 Weeks With Shared Data.  They wanted to know if shared data is a North American phenomena or are other locations getting in on it too.

This is more or less my take: It is my experience that shared data or family plans are more prevalent in mature markets like North America, Western Europe, Australia probably due to a number of reasons/assumptions.

  1. The focus here is the post-paid market, so that already shapes the answer geographically/demographically.
  2. The relative number of devices per person/family is higher is the developed world
  3. More data is being used – better connectivity and better content
  4. There is less price-sensitivity – Shared plans usually end up costing more, but people are willing to take the hit as it is easier to manage. Many customers in emerging market are ultra-price sensitive.
  5. The move from ARPU to ARPA, in some North American operators reporting has signified a change in more than reporting/accounting. They are thinking – families with multiple members and multiple connected devices, then thinking about all the devices your family will have connected to the Internet they don’t belong to individual subscribers. Think connected, car, house, kitchen, dogs,….. Shared Data will make even more sense going forward

I have noticed shared data plans in some of the more developed Asian markets (Singtel, Singapore, I believe), but I don’t see it have anywhere near the traction.

What Optus have to say:

By pooling all of a household’s mobile bills together, parents — who do not typically use as much data as their children — will be able to share their unused quotas with their data-hungry children.

“All families have different data needs, with some people in the house using more than others. Now customers can combine all the mobile plans in their home on the same bill and make the most of their data,” said Optus’s marketing and product boss Vicki Brady.

“Currently around 68 per cent of our My Plan customers are using less than 50 per cent of their monthly data inclusions. We know that 18-20 year olds use 2.7 times more data than those over 45 years old.”

The new postpaid plans will also come with unlimited voice calls and text messages.

What are your thoughts on the shared data plan or family plan?


About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .


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  1. Tony Poulos says:

    Unless there is a compelling financial advantage in moving to a ‘shared data’ plan why would anyone bother? More importantly, what reasonably intelligent adults would even consider sharing any data allocation with their teenage children?

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