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New mobile broadband tariffs can help solve bandwidth-value gap

17 ноября 2009

Camiant, a provider of policy control and application assurance technology, announced the findings of its latest study, "Rethinking Mobile Broadband Data Rate Plans" indicating that by redesigning mobile broadband data rate plans, operators will be able to help solve one of the industry's most pressing concerns - the bandwidth-value gap. 

The study results are said to point to a high level of interest by consumers in alternative rate plan structures to today's traditional packages.

The bandwidth-value gap is the growing disconnect between bandwidth demand and revenue growth.  Estimates from Heavy Reading indicate that bandwidth on 3G mobile networks is growing by approximately 400% annually while the associated revenue from data services is only growing approximately 40% per year.  Camiant's study has found that mobile data consumers were more interested in rate plans designed to control bandwidth and afford incremental revenue add-ons than they were in traditional "Cap + Overage" rate plans with strict usage caps with steep overage penalties.

The study was commissioned by Camiant and conducted by Heavy Reading in September and October 2009.  263 mobile broadband dongle users throughout Europe including UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden were polled regarding their preferences for various forms of rate plans.

 Key findings are:

  •  Consumers have concerns with "Cap + Overage" style rate plans
  •  62% didn't know what their usage cap was
  • 76% didn't know how much bandwidth they actually used
  • 39% didn't know what happened if they went over the usage cap
  • 45% were very/moderately concerned about exceeding the cap

When presented with four alternative rate plan structures and asked their preference -- "Cap + Overage" was least preferred by consumers.  A plan that includes the same base package, charging the same effective rate for overage with the understanding that service speed would be low for any data over the monthly limit during peak hours -- generated more than twice the interest level:

  • EUR 20 for 3GB + EUR 20/GB overage - 16%
  • EUR 20 for 3GB + EUR 7/GB overage + peak bandwidth limit -  35%
  • EUR 20 for unlimited low speed service - 23%
  • EUR 50 for unlimited high speed service  - 26%

Many users were willing to pay additional fees beyond the base subscription for potential "extras":

  • 43% of all respondents would pay EUR 5 in addition to base plan for unlimited usage of one specific application.  Of those that were interested, 90% said it was important that they select the application.
  • 45% of respondents interested in a service that might provide lower speed at some point said they would be willing to pay between EUR 1 and EUR 3 for on-demand higher speed "for a short duration (e.g. 1 hour)."

Other findings included results regarding casual use, application limitations and usage controls.

"The prospect that network growth could consume revenue faster than operators can generate it marks a new phase in the industry's maturation," said Randy Fuller, vice president of Business Development at Camiant. "Our study clearly indicates that there are definite opportunities for mobile operators to use rate plan structures to help solve this problem and that users are receptive to creative alternatives."

By rethinking mobile data rate plans, says Camiant, operators can enable users to make value decisions based more in line with operator cost as well as directly address peak bandwidth utilization and the true cost of marginal network growth.  Also, since operators can offer variable and ARPU-expanding options in search of market share growth rather than simple discounts, the potential occurrence of a profit-destroying price war should be reduced.

"It's becoming very clear that network operators need to offer a wider range of package options to users of mobile data users," said Graham Finnie, Chief Analyst at Heavy Reading. "This study provides strong evidence that end users are willing to consider a range of alternatives to conventional usage management schemes."

Источник: Mobile Europe

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