Out with unlimited plans, in with unlimited control
Over the last year there has been a rush to offer greater value with unlimited plans may have seemed beneficial for consumers, but the reality is that it resulted in unsustainable pressure on earnings for major carriers.
Over the next 12 months, says Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder of MATRIXX Software, we will see the “Peak Oil” of these data plans which, in turn, will force operators to differentiate themselves and look for the ‘new, new thing’ that will attract and retain customers.
The hard truth is, unlimited data has been a cover for a lack of control over how and what customers can buy – as technology limitations have forced the creation of predefined plans that are frequently a poor fit for what people actually want. These plans paper over the fact that you can’t see what you’re using, and therefore can’t plan or manage consumption.
It may be tempting to dismiss the notion that consumers want to understand how much data they are using, for example, when watching a movie; however, a recent report identified that over half of all mobile users, including those on unlimited plans, would change their mobile service today if they had more choice and control over how they used their data. In fact, if they could choose the best plan to meet their needs at any time, over 50%would change their data plan at least once a month – some as frequently as every day.
What’s next for the industry?
It’s no secret that the global telecoms industry is being challenged. As more companies enter the market – from established players to innovative startups, what had once been a trickle of competition will now become a wave, and 2018 will be the year that operators will be forced to make bold moves to radically reinvent themselves – embracing differentiation around customer experience, content, flexibility and personalised services.
There is a big opportunity for telcos to compete in smarter ways by providing better awareness of the value of data to customers. A recent consumer survey highlighted that customers prefer the experience of digital-first companies, with 73% of participants saying they wish their mobile service provider operated more like an Amazon, Netflix or PayPal.
This trend is already happening, Comcast, for example, has recently introduced Xfinity Mobile – and offered both unlimited and flexible pay per GB plans.
The flexible plan is proving more popular with customers as it allows them to pay $12 (€9.72) per GB for the data they use each month, and adjust as needed, rather than shelling out the $65 (€52.66) per line for the unlimited plan. This clearly highlights that the tide has turned, and Telco’s now recognise that reinventing their business to be digitally agile is the only way forward
In a world where you can customise your coffee, personalise your shopping and select which music you want to listen to in your Lyft, today’s customers expect highly granular control over what they buy and relish in individual experiences.
Consumers want an operator that will transform with the times and enable us to buy services based on our changing needs and particular preference, as well as a mobile service provider that demonstrates true value and absolute transparency. Telcos are used to dealing in milliseconds when it comes to connecting customers to their networks. Now they must apply that same thinking and approach across everything customers do.
In the next 12 months Telco’s will take action and continue to transition away from the one-size-fits-all approach that has prevailed for so many years. Instead, operators will develop long-term engagement strategies which meet the true needs and desires of the modern consumer.
The realisation has finally hit home that telcos can not only provide access, but value also, and, in doing so can become a trusted brand-partner rather than a faceless service. Success will depend on operators making bold moves to radically reinvent themselves to consumers, differentiating by considerations such as customer experience, content, flexibility, and personalised services.
The author of this blog is Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder and VP Marketing at MATRIXX Software