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As Verizon ramped up their own planned shared data plans earlier this week, T-Mobile’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Andrew Sherrard has taken to T-Mobile’s own blog to lay down the company’s position on shared family data plans. According to Sherrard’s posting, we shouldn’t expect to see shared family data plans on T-Mobile anytime soon and that’s just fine with me.
It’s an interesting position and yet, Sherrard brings up some key points about why T-Mobile wants data plans to be purchased on an individual basis. First and foremost, do families really want to be responsible for one data plan? It’s impossible to say they are truly a bad idea without knowing what kind of pricing Verizon and T-Mobile would consider, but given the carriers view on rising data costs, it’s likely that shared family data plans with enough data allotment would end up being more expensive than purchasing on an individual basis.
“Do families really want to keep track of each others’ data consumption?” Sherrard says. “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 acknowledges that data usage and bandwidth are limited resources, but doesn’t believe that shared data is the way to approach the problem of smartphone data usage. I for one, agree. Do you?
By Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president of marketing, T-Mobile
It’s an undisputed fact that mobile data adoption is on the rise. For example, in just the last five years, we have 146 times more data crossing our network. However, what is still up for debate is how we, as an industry, should evolve our rate plans in a world where people carry more than one wireless device and where tablets are becoming the new family computer.
Some of our competitors are backing away from simple, unlimited data and moving to family shared data plans. But would this approach actually deliver a better value to consumers? Do families really want to keep track of each others’ data consumption? 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, what is the right way to price data for customers who want affordable, unlimited access to what, unfortunately, is a limited resource?
Here’s how we see it:
Data plans should be flexible and affordable. At T-Mobile, customers have the option of only paying for the amount of data each member of the family believes they will need. Customers can choose affordable, no-annual-contract data for tablets and other data-only products they share – paying every month or buying in daily or weekly installments.
Data should be worry-free. With our unlimited data plans, there is no surprise data cap or bill shock. Customers simply pay each month for the amount of high-speed data they select and (in contrast to our competitors) T-Mobile customers can continue to use mobile data on their device at reduced speeds after they reach their limit without incurring overage charges.
Customers who pay more, should get more. T-Mobile smartphone customers with 5GB or 10GB data plans also get our Smartphone Mobile Hotspot feature included. This means, with a capable T-Mobile smartphone (most are), customers can power up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices with fast, 4G data. So rather than needing to account for each device on a shared family data plan, customers can use their existing data plan to power multiple devices, while still saving hundreds of dollars annually.
While some in the wireless industry explore potentially complicated and expensive shared data plans, T-Mobile will continue to deliver affordable 4G data with flexible pricing on America’s Largest 4G Network.