Rogers CEO says industry needs to change way it markets wireless data
Rogers CEO, Guy Laurence, says operators need to “change the philosophy of how we sell data so it’s as easy as buying petrol,” He draws the analogy between a car running on gas (petrol) to an internet device running on data. Lawrence claims that just as car drivers have no qualms filling up the tank before a big journey, subscriber should be good with the concept of topping up wireless data plans before game day.
Lawrence says the problem is a question of value. He states that “consumers will be willing to pay for the wireless data they need if they see value in what they can get with it – often content, such as sports and entertainment”. Lawrence is a firm disbeliever in unlimited wireless data plans, claiming they are OK for the niche guys but not the big players.
While the premise may be correct big hurdles remain
Operators have not done a great in attempting to rectify the situation. There is no consistency across the industry as regards to consumer education about how much data they are actually consuming. The average Joe or the average Joe’s parents for that matter are still thoroughly confused when it comes to data usage. How in this day and age is that possible, you ask? If you take a close look in what operators are doing to help customers sort out the conundrum, things might become a little clearer (or not).
Many operators have developed “wireless data usage calculators” with which they attempt to explain how much data a subscriber can expect to consume based on their “usage habits”. Firstly, this assumes they know the difference between web browsing, video streaming and HD video is – not sure all consumers do. Below are the links to three such calculators selected randomly from different locations.
Typically the calculators allow consumers to select from a time period (day/month) and select how much of each activity the subscriber uses. One problem that stands out here is the calculators are not consistent on the activities. For example, while Vodafone says “Number of times you look at an app or web page each day” AT&T’s site says “Hours surfing the Web” and “Apps/games/songs downloaded”. How are you supposed compare or understand the differences?
Here comes the curve ball
Just for interest sake I wanted to find out how much wireless data 1 hour of video streaming would eat out of my data package. The methodology for this “not-so-scientific” test was to flat line all the bars and just select 1 hour of streaming video per month. Some operators actually state what amounts are used. Below are the results
|Operator||Video Streaming Data (1hr)||notes|
|AT&T (US)||120Mb||Stated as 120MB/hour|
|Telstra (Australia)||176M||(0.44G/2.5 – 2.5 is the min time on slider)|
|Vodafone (UK)||225Mb||Stated -1 min of streaming video: 3.75MB)|
Can you figure this out? Vodafone UK’s wireless data count is almost double AT&T’s with Telstra falling right in the middle. I know there can be pricing fluctuations at the gas pump, but typically a gallon (liter) is still a gallon (liter) at every station you pull into. Inconsistency in terms and calculations may be preventing operators from gaining subscriber confidence. The industry needs get consensus on these issues if they want to stand a chance of explaining it to consumers and having them fill up big for game day.