T-Mobile US is quadrupling the amount of data customers on its low-cost "Simple Starter" plans can get per month to 2 GB for $45, just $5 more than the existing plan, which offers 500 MB of data. Both plans offer unlimited voice and texting.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead he is "deeply troubled" by the carrier's decision to start slowing down the speeds of some customers who still have legacy unlimited data plans and who cross into the top 5 percent of heavy data users on Verizon's LTE network when they are on high-traffic cell sites.
Consumers are fine with usage-based pricing for wireless data but are confused by their plans nonetheless, according to a new report from a government watchdog. The report, from the Government Accountability Office, found that consumers are generally much more concerned about usage-based pricing and data caps for their home broadband service than for their wireless service.
Starting in the fourth quarter, Verizon Wireless customers who still have legacy unlimited data plans who cross into the top 5 percent of data users on Verizon's LTE network could see their speeds slowed when they are on high-traffic cell sites.
A Comcast executive said that he is confident the company will roll out usage-based data pricing nationwide once it completes a series of "robust" trials it is currently conducting in several markets. Speaking at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit today in New York City, David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, said that the company is moving slowly with its usage-based data trials to avoid alienating consumers. "We don't want to blow up our high-speed data business," he said.
Despite wireless operators offering a variety of pricing discounts to some customers, the pricing turmoil in the market has not really impacted the Tier 1 carriers' bottom lines, according to analysts at New Street Research. In fact, the analysts say carriers are set to report stronger-than-expected quarterly subscribers for the first quarter, thanks in large part to booming tablet subscription adoptions.
We're not in a price war right now, despite multiple competitive changes in pricing plans over the last few months. So if we're not in a price war, what would one actually look like?
Comcast, the country's largest cable operator, has expanded its usage-based broadband billing trial to its Maine cable systems, according to a report in Multichannel News.
H2O Wireless, an MVNO that is managed by Fort Lee, N.J.-based Locus Telecommunications and runs on AT&T Mobility's network, has revived an unlimited data offer that it had discontinued in 2011.
While T-Mobile's "free data" for tablets strategy is smart, it does make me wonder about the overall message wireless carriers are sending to consumers about LTE data and its value in the market. There's a huge discrepancy in the pricing of LTE data among the operators with some offering free data and others charging a premium.