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Wireless Data Plans Are on a Roll(over)

By Jeff Kagan
Jan 15, 2015 6:50 AM PT

Great news: Rollover is back and can save you money. Just in case you haven't heard about it, three wireless carriers have kicked off this new competitive battle with rolling data plans. The good news is rollover data works and saves customers money.

Wireless Data Plans Are on a Roll(over)

During the last month or so, three wireless carriers have introduced programs in this space: AT&T Mobility Rollover Data; T-Mobile Data Stash; and C Spire Rolling Data.

Regional provider C Spire was the first, at the end of November. AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile jumped in within a few weeks with their offerings. That says to me this is something all three had been planning. They pulled the trigger within weeks of each other.

AT&T Mobility created the whole rollover idea several years ago with its Rollover Minutes program. In fact, AT&T owns the rights to the term "rollover." Think of this like the name "Kleenex" in the tissue business. We all ask for a Kleenex, not a tissue.

Whatever the name, customers will love this idea of rollover data the same way they loved rollover minutes several years ago. Why? Because it saves them money.

Get What You Paid For

Customers don't like to lose what they already paid for but haven't completely used at the end of each month. They also don't like paying additional charges for more data if they run out on the plan they use.

Rollover data lets customers have more control. If they have light wireless data usage one month followed by a heavier month, they can simply use their rollover data rather than having to purchase additional service. No overage fees.

This will not completely solve all wireless plan problems, but it will help save customers money as their usage fluctuates up and down from month to month. That's why I think the marketplace will love this idea.

This won't help customers who run out of wireless data every month. They should consider upping their wireless data limit.

Bottom line, rollover data saves customers money. That's why I think this plan will be another home run.

What does it mean to the wireless carriers themselves? This is a competitive advantage for any carrier that uses it. It will be an attractant. It will help carriers both reduce churn and win new customers.

Because of that, I would think Verizon Wireless, Sprint and U.S. Cellular might jump into the same space as well. However, that is not certain.

Several years ago, AT&T Mobility was very successful with its Rollover Minutes program. I assumed every carrier would follow suit. However, they did not.

Not joining at that time didn't hurt Verizon Wireless. So there is no guarantee that the others will follow. However, since there are already three wireless carriers on board this time, chances are better that others will join. We'll just have to wait and see.

Welcome Changes

I fully expect this new rollover world will continue to change and adjust as competitors shuffle for position. This always happens when a new category emerges. So expect changes in the coming weeks and months.

Changes that tend to make competitors more competitive are always better for the customer -- and they are typically added to the program the customer is already on.

Customers also will benefit from changes to come.

Just last week, C Spire made an adjustment to its offering to sweeten its rolling data pot. I would be surprised if it were the last to do so. That means keep your eyes on AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile as well. You never know what will happen next.

Some customers are loyal to their brand of wireless service. They will not be looking to change carriers but will still appreciate this program.

Other customers will change carriers for what they consider a better offer. So they will spend time and understand the differences between carriers. Then they will make their move.

Here are links to these three carriers' rollover data Web pages. Look around.

AT&T Mobility Rollover Data

T-Mobile Data Stash

C Spire Wireless Rolling Data

Any way you slice this, rollover data is a great idea, and it solves one of the problems wireless users deal with on a monthly basis. I think it will be very successful for AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile and C Spire.

Customers will love this the same way they loved the original AT&T Rollover Minutes a few years ago. It will help them reduce their costs, and that is something that interests every user.


E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technology industry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.


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