Three UK has bucked the trend for operator data caps by launching an unlimited tariff for smartphone users.
The carrier has removed a 1GB limit on its One Plan tariff to address customer’s concerns over incurring hidden charges, claiming the move challenges the restrictions placed on mobile data access by its rivals.
Three stated that fear of unexpected data charges is the biggest barrier to usage cited by its customers.
“All-you-can-eat data is designed to remove the possibility of bill shock when you use data, so you can use your smartphone to do everything it was designed for without the worry of cost,” sales director Marc Allera explains.
Three’s network has “the scale and scope to meet people’s data needs both now and into the future,” he added.
Gavin Patterson, chief markets analyst at mobileSQUARED told Telecoms Europe.net that 3’s move is “certainly a challenge to the other UK operators,” but that he doesn’t “expect copycat plans to follow immediately.”
He notes 3’s main motivation is likely to grow its user base.
“If it can't do that with pricing and quality, having just spent £400 million [€471 million] to upgrade its network, when will it?”
US carrier AT&T set the ball rolling on data caps in June and has quickly been followed by carriers including Verizon and Sprint in the US, and Vodafone and O2 in the UK.
Rajeev Singh-Molares, Alcatel-Lucent’s Asia Pacific chief, last week predicted global mobile data traffic will grow between 16 and 40 times by 2015, while O2 expects its UK traffic alone to double every six months.