UK-based iD Mobile has become the latest mobile service provider to allow users to roll over any unused data from their subscriptions to the next month, joining a growing trend among operators in Europe and elsewhere.
Although the Carphone Warehouse-owned MVNO boasted that it the first to launch such an offer in the UK, the ability to carry over data is already evident in other markets in Europe.
In Sweden, for example, Telia Sweden recently launched a "surf pot" that allows users to save unused data from 12 GB a month to a maximum of 100 GB. Over in Austria, Three Austria has a "datapolster" that grows month by month until it reaches double the data allowance of the original smartphone or mobile broadband subscription.
Data rollover has also been widely used as a subscriber acquisition tactic in the U.S., although an article in PC Magazine from last year warned of hidden catches in some of the packages.
These include the fact that the unused data often has en expiry date -- sometimes only until the end of the subsequent month. In addition, some users that do not have wildly varying data usage patterns may never use the rolled over data because they are forced to use their original data allowances first, thus rendering rollover data as a fairly pointless feature of any data plan.
The Data Rollover feature from iD Mobile does address some of these potential "catches". First and foremost, the option is freely available. Second, any unused data from the previous month is used first, meaning that users will benefit fully from the option if they have swings in data usage. However, FAQs indicate that the "Rollover data" expires at the end of the month.
Despite any shortcomings, it is still a benefit for users to be able to carry over any unused data that was previously wasted every month.
Adam Dunlop, general manager at iD, said the feature was introduced after customers said they wanted more control over the data they use.
"Data is one of the key considerations when choosing the right plan to suit your lifestyle, and we know data usage can vary from month to month, and can often result in higher monthly charges. This is why we've introduced Data Rollover, to give our customers more control over their plans and better value for money," Dunlop said.
iD launched on the Three UK network last May to much fanfare, offering 4G data speeds, free voice, text and data roaming and contract flexibility including 12-month plans.
- see the iD Mobile release
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