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T-Mobile's SVP of Marketing thinks that AT&T and Verizon are barking up the wrong tree with family data plans

AT&T and Verizon Wireless are planning to introduce new family data plans this summer in order to simplify data management across multiple devices. Numerous wireless devices would share a single pool of data per month instead of being charged a fixed amount per month for each device.
 
T-Mobile, however, isn't keen on this change in direction by the two largest wireless carriers in the United States. According to Andrew Sherrard, T-Mobile's senior vice president of marketing, family data plans are bad for customers. Sherrard feels that having multiple people (or devices) on family data share plans will lead to customers constantly fearing that they will go over their data allotment.
 
"Do families really want to keep track of each others’ data consumption," Sherrard questioned. "We don’t think so. Just imagine mom’s email is suddenly unavailable because her teenage son watched an HD movie on his phone, consuming the family’s data allotment."

T-Mobile believes that consumers today do not want a ‘one size fits all’ approach to shared family data plans, nor would they benefit from that model."
 
So if family data plans aren't the answer, what is T-Mobile's alternative? The company feels that it offers the right balance for customers with no-annual-contract data plans (daily, weekly, or monthly) for tablets, "unlimited" data plans (in T-Mobile's case, unlimited means full speed data access until you hit your monthly threshold, then reduced speeds until the end of your billing cycle), and the addition of mobile hotspot functionality with 5GB and 10GB data plans.
 
However, until AT&T and Verizon Wireless announce pricing for their respective family data plans, we won't know which solution offers the best value for customers. And even when pricing is revealed, no one solution is going to be perfect for every family or situation. 

Source: T-Mobile Blog



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That's okay, he's an idiot
By MeesterNid on 5/19/2012 10:51:10 PM , Rating: 1
Let's see, my wife and I have two separate data plans right now. She uses next to nothing and I almost always hit the wall by the end of the billing cycle. Having a pool to draw from would be a huge plus for me and I imagine many others in a similar situation.

The fact is that it's dead simple to let people set quotas so they don't use up the entire pool by themselves.

He should stop talking and instead work on getting the company out of the toilet where they lose customer every quarter.




RE: That's okay, he's an idiot
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/19/2012 11:16:45 PM , Rating: 5
I'm eager to see how these share plans work out. My wife and I both have grandfathered unlimited plans on AT&T paying $60 a month total for data.

She uses maybe 300-400MB a month and I use between 500MB to 800MB. However, when I tether using MyWi, I can hit a monthly high of around 3 to 4GB. But that's maybe only once or twice a year when we're at the beach.

If we can pool a reasonable amount of data for less than our current $60, I'll bite.


RE: That's okay, he's an idiot
By mevans336 on 5/20/2012 10:53:32 AM , Rating: 3
I'm with you Brandon, however, I am very doubtful the plans will benefit folks like you and me who only pay for 2 data plans. I'm betting they are going to target the higher ARPU customers who have 4 or 5 phones on their family plan.

I have a feeling it will play out something like this; 1GB for $30, 5GB for $60, 10GB for $80, and so on.

While I could drop both data plans and stay within 1GB of usage, we would definitely have to watch our data usage much more closely, as (combined) the two phones on my family plan use a little more or a little less than 1GB each month.

They definitely don't want to lose revenue per device, so they're going to structure it so the least amount of people can downgrade and save money, the most amount of people keep paying what they currently are, and a small portion will bump up to something they *think* they need at the moment. As data usage increases, everyone will have to bump up tiers and spend more anyway.


RE: That's okay, he's an idiot
By Jaybus on 5/21/2012 3:49:53 PM , Rating: 2
I too am grandfathered on an unlimited plan, but I have doubts as to how much longer they will let us stay grandfathered. I'm sure that eventually we'll lose the unlimited whether we like it or not.


RE: That's okay, he's an idiot
By Samus on 5/21/2012 4:14:10 AM , Rating: 2
My wife and I have have a plan sharing minutes, text and data across 3 lines with Ting. It's ideal for people who are not data heavy, and just need it for surfing, mapping, email, etc, because your not stuck paying $10-$20 per line for 200mb of data like you are on T-mobile, and instead just pay $6-$24 for 500-2000mb across all three.


RE: That's okay, he's an idiot
By cigar3tte on 5/21/2012 1:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
I highly doubt it. Consider the fact that tiered data at 2GB ceiling came out at the same price as unlimited data used to be.


Verizon and AT&T are right.
By vcolon on 5/19/2012 4:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
It is not about whether tiered data plans are what customers want, it is about customers having more options. Those on per device data plans can stay on them if the want.




RE: Verizon and AT&T are right.
By erple2 on 5/21/2012 9:48:29 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
It is not about whether tiered data plans are what customers want, it is about customers having more options insofar that it makes the company more money.


Fixed that for you.

It has become clear that these plans are becoming available only because someone has figured out how to make more money on them.


RE: Verizon and AT&T are right.
By wempa on 5/22/2012 12:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. If this was really about offering the customers more options, then some of these data plans would be cheaper than the previous unlimited. That's obviously not the case. Verizon's unlimited data was $30, which is the same price for the new 2GB tier. So, in this case, the customer loses something and gets no benefit. It really insults our intelligence how the companies try to pass this off as being for the customer.


RE: Verizon and AT&T are right.
By vcolon on 5/22/2012 11:16:39 PM , Rating: 2
My original statement stands Mr 99% LOL.


It's 2012, people
By Solandri on 5/19/2012 7:13:31 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
"Do families really want to keep track of each others’ data consumption," Sherrard questioned. "We don’t think so. Just imagine mom’s email is suddenly unavailable because her teenage son watched an HD movie on his phone, consuming the family’s data allotment."

Each phone has a unique ID and its data use can be tracked and throttled separately. The family plan is simply a billing mechanism.

All you have to do is give families tools to manage their data use, much like disk quotas on shared filesystems back in the 1970s. If the family plan allows 5 GB/mo, you could allocate 1GB to each of 4 family members, and 1 shared GB as overage. So if Billy eats up his 1GB and all of the 1GB overage, as long as mom isn't close to 1GB she's still good to go.

At the end of the money, the family reviews their data usage. Billy gets scolded for eating up 2GB, gets his quota lowered to 0.5GB and his shared overage privileges revoked for a month.

It's 2012. If these types of management tools don't exist yet, families should be demanding them. They should've been created back around 2000 when family plans were first introduced.




RE: It's 2012, people
By Trisped on 5/20/2012 2:55:59 AM , Rating: 2
Parental controls already allow parents to control how many minutes can be used and texts sent from a phone. I have not looked recently, but I expect that controlling data usage on a per-phone bases will be included with the new family plans.

Personally I think the new family plans sound great. I barely use my phone, so why pay full price for a plan I barely use when other people in the family are constantly going over on theirs?


not picky
By Ammohunt on 5/19/2012 10:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
How about no roaming in the same coverage areas that at&t and Verizon have; oh and iPhone? hello?




RE: not picky
By Mint on 5/20/2012 4:38:26 PM , Rating: 2
Apple gets a cut from the monthly revenue of AT&T and Verizon on top of the ~$500 they pay for each phone, AFAIK. I don't think T-Mobile can afford that with their lower pricing (contract and esp. no-contract). I also doubt Apple would let them sell the iPhone with a higher rate specifically for it.

Better to just get an unlocked one and go no-contract. You should still save in little over a year.


Pooled data plans are dangerous
By talikarni on 5/19/2012 2:03:18 PM , Rating: 2
There has already been studies showing that data caps change the way people handle their data and internet usage.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/12050...




By HoosierEngineer5 on 5/20/2012 7:27:27 AM , Rating: 2
I don't have any confidence they will have this figured out.




By Targon on 5/20/2012 11:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
Why would anyone listen to a marketing person who is almost guaranteed to hype the company he/she works for and put down or dismiss what the competition is doing? T-mobile is in a bad position as it stands, so anything that would make people want to stay on AT&T or Verizon isn't good news for T-mobile.

I am sure that single-line data plans will remain, and if family data is an option, I don't see ANYTHING wrong there. Now, there will always be those who try a 2GB for the entire family, which WOULD be an issue for many families, but for those who don't use a lot of data and ALL lines are generally below 1GB per month, it MIGHT be a valid option.

The only bad thing would be if all family plans are forced to go to a shared data package, rather than letting people choose what works best for them, and I doubt that would be the case.




Unlimited vs data caps
By KOOLTIME on 5/23/2012 1:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
Well telco's dont advertise this but they dont want people to use there home / private services as full time business services, and up/download data 24/7.

Fiber is now available to homes unlike 10 years ago, this allows business class service to residents. Most small businesses will look to using this very much cheaper service, vs paying for the expensive business services.

This is whats really under the hidden hood crux of all the debates people reading about. Has nothing to do with john doe abusing data by watching Netflix at home 24/7.




Ironic T-Mobile...
By 1ceTr0n on 5/19/12, Rating: -1
RE: Ironic T-Mobile...
By apc31981 on 5/19/2012 7:42:11 PM , Rating: 3
And you would know this bunker coverage because?

Of course it could be a new marketing program. "America's largest 4g network. You can still download at 4g speeds after being abducted! Only on..."


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