Last week I wrote a guest post at PCC Mobile Broadband where I made some predictions on what will be the next big thing on the Internet in 2015, and one thing we here at Sandvine are particularly bullish on is the concept of data rollover.
Rollover voice minutes have been commonplace in many markets and have proven to significantly reduce customer churn. As data prices becomes more competitive, we expect to see more and more operators offer their subscribers the ability to carry over some of their unused data to the next month to increase loyalty and reduce churn.
So why do we think data rollover will be big in 2015? In recent months two operators Sandvine works with, operating in two very different markets and access technologies have both launched plans offering subscribers the ability to carry unused data to a future period.
The first example is at Vox Telecom in South Africa where Sandvine is helping to power the rollover portion that comes included with Vox’s Fat Pipe service. In their own words “the advantage of the Fat Pipe Data bundles is that all unused data rolls over to the following month indefinitely and doesn’t expire while you are subscribed to Fat Pipe.”
With Vox, as long as a subscriber is under contract their unused data will be rolled forward to the next month. This gives subscribers the ability to bank their unused data, and in a few years time when Netflix launches in the region, subscribers could theoretically have hundreds of gigabytes of data they could use to binge-watch shows to their hearts’ content. Incidentally, this is third innovative subscriber plan or promotion that Sandvine’s solutions have supported at Vox, in short order – leveraging the identical product set, without any additional professional services. By comparison, trying to achieve the same result through traditional BSS/OSS vendors would mean three separate, expensive, time-consuming custom services engagements, with no guarantee of success, and no ability to leverage the investment for future innovations.
The other example comes from the US, where in November C-Spire launched the ability carry over varying amounts of mobile data depending upon the plan you select. While a subscriber can only carry over data one month forward it does provide users the opportunity to build a data buffer in order to avoid bill shock in months where their usage is higher than normal (think holiday video calling in December or Instagram photo posting on vacation in the summer).
The adoption of rollover data plans may even open the door to data marketplaces, where subscribers with extra data, especially in pre-paid mobile markets, have the ability to share or gift data to their friends or family who are running low. That may be putting the cart before the horse a bit, but if rollover data plans take hold as quickly as we think they will, 2015 could be all about the next generation of data rollover plans.