More Devices, More
Data, More Revenue
More Devices, More Data, More Revenue
Delivering a Win for Customers and Operators
Shared data is a success story for mobile operators. In today’s multi-
device ownership market having a pool of data that different customers,
with many mobile devices, can share is proving a win-win for operators
and customers. Operators are seeing more devices using more data on
their networks, and delivering increased value for customers.
Multi-device shared data plans are responsible for increasing revenue
and usage, and operators are rolling out new plans on a regular basis that
help customers realize the economic and social benefits of sharing data.
A look at the Q1 2014 results of some of the main innovators of shared
data underlines the benefits that operators are realizing. AT&T has seen
the number of customers on its Mobile Share plans almost triple in the
past year and Verizon has increased revenue per account by 6.26%.
There is a wide range of applications of shared data. These include multi
device plans, family plans, group plans and business plans. Increasingly
we’re seeing two basic building blocks of success for shared plans. First
is giving the customer control in setting the plan and second is real-time
balance management. With many different users and devices using the
same data pool, it’s vital that balances are managed in real-time, and that
customers are fully in control of their usage and have real-time visibility
of their charges.
SHARED DATA PERFORMANCE
AT THE BIGGEST TWO OPERATORS IN USA
Source: AT&T Q1 2014 & Q1 2013 Financial Results - Verizon Q1 2014 Results
25% 46%on 10GB+
% of Retail Post Paid Accounts
on More Everything Plans
Figure 1: AT&T and Verizon Shared Data Plan Performance
* Retail Post Paid ARPA
Tablets Driving Data Additions
Using Shared Data Plans to Drive Cellular Tablet Sales
In 2013 there were 195.4 million tablets sold worldwide, representing a
68% increase on 2012. Gartner* attributes this trend to a boom in first
time buyers tempted into the space by low cost Android tablets. For 91%
of the business market the iPad is the tablet of choice. Both consumer and
business tablet sales represent an opportunity for mobile operators.
In the US there were about 60 million tablets sold in 2013. The good
news for mobile operators is that around 10.4 million of these tablets are
using an embedded cellular connection. This represents a 46% increase
from 7.1 million in 2012. When it comes to cellular data used by tablets,
the average is around 1 GB per month, which is about half of the average
monthly smartphone data use of around 2GB per month **. This highlights
a couple of points. Firstly, existing cellular tablet users are using tablets
as a secondary mobile device and as such customer usage behaviour
may differ from smartphone usage. There is an opportunity to analyze
tablet usage and develop offers to drive up tablet data usage. Secondly,
the vast majority of tablet users are using wi-fi only tablets, and it’s a fair
assumption to make that many of these users have smartphones and
existing mobile contracts. This represents a significant opportunity for
mobile operators to help customers to upgrade to tablets with cellular
connectivity and get customers using them as part of a shared data plan.
In April 2014, T-Mobile in the US announced a drive to sell more cellular
tablets. Operation Tablet Freedom offers tablets with LTE cellular
connectivity at the same prices as Wi-Fi only tablets, trade-ins on Wi-Fi
tablets and free LTE data.
*Gartner report “Market Share: Ultramobiles by Region, OS and Form Factor, 4Q13 and 2013.”
** NPD’s Connected Intelligence Mobile Connectivity Report, Feb 2014
Add a tablet to your voice
plan and get FREE data
through the end of the year
That’s right, get up to 1GB + 200MB 4G LTE data per month-FREE
Figure 2: T-Mobile US Tablet Promotion
AT&T’s plans cover up to 10 devices per Mobile Share Plan and range
from 300MB to 50GB of data to share. Plans included unlimited voice
and SMS, and AT&T also offers 50GB of free cloud storage with AT&T
Locker™, which is marketed as a secure and safe place for customers
to store their photos. When it comes to devices to add as well as
smartphones, gaming devices, tablets and so on, it’s been reported in the
telecoms press* that in the summer AT&T will enable customers to add
their cars as a device in a share plan. This is part of the AT&T’s connected
car program with Audi.
*Fierce Wireless March 11 2014
Starting at 250MB for $20 Verizon recently re-named their plans from
Share Everything to More Everything, which suggests that they want to
offer more to share rather than a bucket of data. As part of this Verizon
is providing their Family Base service, which is free for the first three
months. This is parental control software that allows parents to set
time and usage restrictions, as well as view their kids’ contact lists and
remotely lock down their kids’ devices.
UK operator EE promotes flexibility in their 4GEE share plans, by enabling
customers to add people to their plans at any time they want. The
message is that if a friend (potential share plan member) is in the middle
of a contract (presumably with a competitor) then the customer can add
them when that contract finishes. This is a good example of using share
plans to attract new customers.
Operator Examples of Shared Data Plans
Figure 4: Verizon More Everything Advertising
Figure 3: AT&T Mobile Share Advertising
Figure 5: EE Share Plan Advertising
Sprint’s Framily (friends and family) group share scheme uses a social
approach to creating a group to join a data share scheme. The marketing
of Framily encourages existing customers to add more members (up
to 10 phone numbers per group) by promoting cost reductions—for
each new Sprint customer joining a Framily group, the cost per person
will drop $5 a month. Sprint see Framily as an “innovation platform”. By
marketing other services to Framily members there is the opportunity to
make the plans very sticky, as more services being used by more Framily
members delivers increased benefits for the group.
Offering multi-SIM data share bundles gives Orange Slovakia an extra
marketing edge. They offer multi device plans, small business share plans
and group / family share plans. The marketing of these plans highlights
providing value and flexibility.
In Australia, Telstra’s Mobile Accelerate Data Share Plans are marketed
“to help you get more from your data allowance”. Telstra promote single
billing for all data devices and real-time usage tracking and management
and alters to ensure customers keep control of data usage across all
One of the pioneers of shared data plans, Bell offers ‘Family Shareable’
and ‘Personal Shareable’ options. Customers can connect up to 10
devices or family members to the share plan, and also offer Mobile TV as
a plan add on.
Operator Examples of Shared Data Plans
Figure 6: Sprint Framily Advertising
Figure 7: Orange Slovakia Share Plan
Figure 8: Bell Canada Plans Include Mobile TV
AT&T Q1 2014
AT&T has seen the number of customers on its Mobile Share plans
almost triple in the past year to 11.3 million accounts with nearly 33
million connections (about 45 percent of postpaid subscribers) with an
average of about three devices per account. This is up from 21 million
connections (about 29% of AT&T’s postpaid base) at the end of Q4 2013.
In addition the take up rates of its 10GB+ plans grew from 27% of its
Mobile Share base at the end of the Q4 2013 to 46% in Q1 2014.
Verizon Q1 2014
Shared data plans continue to perform well for Verizon. By changing
their main reporting metric from ARPU (average revenue per user) to
ARPA (average revenue per account) Verizon put shared data plans
center stage. In the past year (to Q1 2014) Verizon have seen total retail
connections jump by 4.45%, ARPA increase by 6.26%, and the average
number of devices per account increase by 3.75%. Verizon now has half
of its postpaid accounts on More Everything plans.
Shared Data Driving Operators Financial Results
Figure 9: Headlines from Forbes
Figure 10: Headline from PCC Mobile Broadband
Traditional Data Shared Data
Driving Increased Usage and Data Spend
Global marketing services firm, J.D. Power and Associates’ half yearly
report on customer services in the US operator market has found that
customers on mobile share plans have higher customer satisfaction
scores than those on traditional plans.
Results from their 2013 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Full-Service
Performance Study* J.D. Power found that the satisfaction score for
share data plan customers is 778 out of 1,000, compared with a score of
750 for customers who subscribe to traditional data plans. According to
senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power, “The higher levels of
satisfaction with shared data plans are partially due to the profile of its
customers, particularly the early adopters who changed service offerings
once the mobile data share plans were offered……….For example, not only
are customers with shared data plans more loyal than those without a
shared data plan, but they also have a more positive perception of their
carrier, in addition to spending approximately $30 more per household
As more C level mobile executives are seeing NPS (net promoter score)
and customer satisfaction index scores become part of their regular KPIs
the ability of shared data plans to influence customer satisfaction and
NPS is worth consideration.
*Source: J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Full-Service
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Source: J.D. Power & Associates 2013 U.S. Wireless
Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study
Figure 11: Data Plan Customer Satisfaction Scores
Scores are higher
on shared data plans
than those on
traditional data plans
While operator results to date have showed that shared data can
increase revenues and customer satisfaction, in order to work correctly
and deliver the desired results there are some basic building blocks that
shared data plans need to incorporate. These include:
Real-Time Usage Tracking and Balance Management: Being able
to manage a data share pool and implement value adds such as parental
controls needs real-time usage data. The trend towards offering lower
entry data allowances (e.g. 250MB) and upselling additional data ‘blocks’
needs to be managed in real-time. Likewise, it isn’t effective to apply a
spend limit on a kid’s mobile if the data is being processed by a batch
billing system. Shared data quotas and balances need to be managed
in real-time. Operators also need to be able to enable quotas to be
provisioned and expire on any date / time in the future. This allows total
flexibility regarding the duration of the allowance that can be offered by
As can be seen in Figure 12, which shows a customer purchasing a data
share offer, real-time data is needed to ensure that the balance is up to
date when a customer is sharing or gifting data.
Shared Allowance Profile Management: As there is a single
allowance which can be shared between several users, operators will
need to ensure that their subscriber profiles reflect this, and shared
data groups and any member hierarchies are represented. The key
thing to note is that there should not need to be any pre-existing
relationships in the system between these subscribers so the operator
enables completely ad-hoc sharing and gifting. This can have significant
impact in increasing stickiness of prepaid subscribers.
Key Building Blocks of Shared Data Plans
Smartphone app to make
sharing very easy, just click
the share button!
Phonebook integration to
easily share data with all
contacts on your network.
Figure 12: Sharing Data App
Figure 13: Phonebook Integration
On Device Plan Management: Customers should be able to manage
their own share plans direct from the device. This starts with spend/usage
notification to avoid bill shock, and then extends to managing the balance
across all devices and group members. As customers become more familiar
with data share schemes they should be able to add new members when
they want, change allowances between devices and group members, gift
data allowances as well as having group heads (e.g. mum in a family group)
monitor, manage and control individual usage of group members.
A new advance in sharing data is the ability to ‘gift’ data to friends. As can
be seen in Figure 15, a customer has made a gift of 100MB of data, and this
is reflected on their balance.
Adding Controls: As many shared data offers will be sold as part of
family or corporate plans the ability to add specific controls is required.
For example, a family plan may have 6 devices (three smartphones, a PC
and two tablets) belonging to different members of the family. The head
of the family can impose parental controls (url controls for inappropriate
content, usage and spend controls to ensure no one uses up all the monthly
allowance by spending too much time watching videos). Likewise for
corporate customers, the ability to enforce which content can be used in
work hours, and data usage, for different users is important.
Offer Management: The rules that set the controls and costs around
sharing are centrally managed by an offer catalog. For example, a customer
can share 1GB with a friend, it can only be used in a domestic environment
and it will recur every month for 3 months. Notifications will be triggered at
80% utilization and offer catalog will also define the packages that should
be presented to the subscriber should they consume all of their shared
allowance before the next billing cycle. Note that this is a futher benefit of
shared data in that it will increase overall data usage and by proxy, increase
the number of upsell opportunities.
Key Building Blocks of Shared Data Plans
Full visibility on sharing
and controls to easily set
limits or cancel sharing.
Users can also
give a ‘gift’of data
Figure 14: Sharing Controls
Figure 15: Gifting Data
Openet and Shared Data
The video below shows a customer using advanced data share options.
These include a customer managing data share controls direct on their
device. The example shown shows a customer selecting subscribers and
devices to share their data allowance with, as well as gifting a block of
data to another customer and adding controls.
Openet’s Shared Data offer is a use case of policy and charging control
(PCC) that can be deployed in either policy or charging environments.
The Openet offer consists of four components, Interaction Gateway,
Offer Catalog, Balance Manager and Profile Manager. The sharing
tariffs (including eligibility, sharing rules and the priority for balance
consumption) are configured in the Offer Catalog, and Balance Manager
maintains all the balances in real-time. In order to enable direct customer
control, the Interaction Gateway provides a secure gateway for user
controls via a smartphone self-care app where subscribers can control
sharing, view balances and alter allowances between devices/subscribers.
Shared Data – Giving the Customer Control
Figure 17: Openet’s Shared Data Offer
Figure 16: Video
of Advanced Shared Data
Shared Data DemoShared Data DemoShared Data Demo
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Since the introduction of mobile data services in 1998, Openet has
helped service providers capitalize on opportunities and overcome
challenges. With competitive pressure accelerating, today’s service
providers rely on Openet software to evolve business models around
networking smartphones, M2M devices, and third party services.
Openet’s portfolio combines policy and charging control with device
and third party interaction to enable innovative charging models, to
control operating cost, and to personalize services. More than 80 of
the world’s largest service providers in 30 countries use Openet’s high
For more information,
please visit www.openet.com
Figure 18: Openet Fusionworks: A Flexible Platform for Business Agility