AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) will offer rollover data to customers starting Jan. 25. The plan is similar to plans offered by C Spire Wireless and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS).
AT&T will offer rollover data to all new and current customers on AT&T's Mobile Share Value shared data plans for free. AT&T says it currently has more than 50 million Mobile Share Value customers. Subscribers will be able roll over their unused, shareable plan data in any given month and use it within the next month.
AT&T said its Rollover Data can be shared with every customer on the same Mobile Share Value plan. Within a given month, customers will use their data plan allotment first, before they begin using Rollover Data. The unused data expires if it is not used within the next month.
AT&T said that, as an example, if a customer has four lines on a plan with 15 GB and only uses 10 GB in a given month, 5 GB will roll over and the customer will have a total of 20 GB available to use within the next month. If the customer were to only use 10 GB in the second month, they would again roll over 5 GB and have a total of 20 GB available the next month.
Of course, AT&T originally came up with the concept of rollover minutes in 2007 when it let customers carry unused voice minutes from month to month. The company has since discontinued its rollover voice plans.
"Rollover Data is an added benefit of being an AT&T Mobile Share Value customer and it's just another way that we're saying thanks to our more than 50 million plus Mobile Share Value subscribers," AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie said in a statement. "We're providing even more value and flexibility, and the best part is it's simple, shareable and easy to track for our customers. All Mobile Share Value customers get this automatically."
In November regional carrier C Spire Wireless announced its rollover data plan that lets customers carry over unused data to the next month to help mitigate overage charges that can occur when they use their data bucket.
Then in mid-December, T-Mobile debuted it's plan, called "Data Stash," that is available to T-Mobile subscribers on an eligible postpaid Simple Choice plan who have purchased at least 3 GB of LTE data for smartphones or at least 1 GB for tablets per month.
In addition, T-Mobile is giving every customer with Data Stash 10 GB of LTE data for free. T-Mobile said that customers' data won't start carrying over until after the free 10 GB runs out. The free 10 GB is available until Dec. 31, 2015. The company said it will bring the feature to prepaid customers soon. T-Mobile said customers will lose their unused data after one year from when it is deposited into their Data Stash.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere wrote in a recent blog post that he expects "AT&T will introduce a weak Data Stash knock off--but the fine print will be massive, and they'll miss the first and most important step in the process--which is to stop punishing their customers with domestic overages and instead get rid of them. In fact, I predict that AT&T will collect more in overages in 2015 than anyone else."
Analysts said the plans from T-Mobile and AT&T are different. "AT&T's version differs significantly from T-Mobile's version," Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson wrote in a blog post. "It's less generous, with a single month of rollover rather than twelve months, but that should make it both easier for customers to keep track of and more manageable from a network load perspective. T-Mobile's plan risks creating a situation similar to airline miles, where customers have a hard time keeping track of which miles (or Gigabytes of data) expire when. AT&T's version also better mirrors the original concept, which was designed to give customers some flexibility about month-to-month usage rather than allowing them to accrue substantial unused allowances over time. But T-Mobile (and John Legere) will undoubtedly beat AT&T up about the perceived inferiority of its offer."
- see this release
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