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AT&T Spreads Rollover Data Cheer to GoPhone

By Jeff Kagan
May 14, 2015 9:23 AM PT

AT&T Mobility introduced Rollover Data early this year. The offering is very similar to its successful Rollover Minutes for voice calls, which it began offering a few years ago. The question is, will it be just as successful for data? It looks like the answer is yes, as it is now expanding the perk to GoPhone.

AT&T Spreads Rollover Data Cheer to GoPhone

GoPhone is an AT&T Mobility prepaid brand. Prepaid is a rapidly growing wireless segment, and AT&T is determined to be a winner. That's why it has several unique brands, like GoPhone and Cricket, under its master AT&T brand.

Carriers still need to separate their prepaid brands from the universe of other wireless brands competing for your business. That's why they all try to implement attractive customer solutions.

Making Lightning Strike Twice

It's interesting how wireless is becoming a brand and master brand universe for AT&T. Several years ago, before wireless data was a fast-growing segment, wireless voice minutes were how the carriers competed. AT&T introduced its Rollover Minutes, letting customers keep unused minutes and roll them over to the next month.

It was successful, so why not try it with data? I loved the Rollover Data idea when it was launched back in January, but the question was, could AT&T get lightning to strike twice?

So far, it seems that Rollover Data is successful because AT&T is expanding it beyond the Mobile Share Value plans to the GoPhone.

I think GoPhone customers should love Rollover Data. Prepaid customers are focused on reducing costs, and this plan helps them reduce the cost of wireless data services. That's the whole point -- reducing costs to keep users happy.

Wireless Is Changing

This is a great time to stop and take a look at how the industry is growing and changing. Several years ago carriers competed on voice minutes. Today however, they compete on wireless data. Voice is almost a second thought.

The wireless world is a tough place to do business. You not only have to attract new customers, but also must retain your existing customers, who are being courted by the competition. To do that, carriers have been improving the customer experience and offering advanced services and features.

Not every company is successful in the wireless world. Sure, AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless keep hitting it out of the park, but for years it seemed Sprint and T-Mobile kept striking out. Now, however, both Sprint and T-Mobile are getting their form back and are growing once again. That's good to see.

However, other companies have flamed out -- like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Facebook and even Amazon -- after struggling to succeed in wireless. They were like shooting stars -- they looked great for a moment, before burning up and fading away into oblivion.

Do It Again

Leadership in the industry has changed dramatically too. On the handset side, BlackBerry and Nokia once ruled, but now it's Apple and Samsung. Leadership can change very quickly. That's the challenge for today's leaders -- and that's one reason underlying AT&T's rollover idea. Customers love it -- so they will remain customers.

Wireless is not a world where the successful can kick back and enjoy their winnings, either on the network side or on the handset side. Wireless is a dog-eat-dog industry where you must stay strong and innovative or you lose.

Success in wireless is based on what you did yesterday. Today the question is, what have you done for me lately?

Wireless carriers deliver lots of different ideas to the marketplace. Some are successful, while others fall flat. AT&T is proving that some great ideas -- updated and reintroduced -- can win for the second time, even in a competitive marketplace.

When you have a great idea that customers love, you might just as well update it and run it again. It seems good ideas can make a comeback. Keep your eyes on the wireless industry. Innovation and change are the hallmarks of this rapidly growing space.


E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a wireless analyst, telecom analyst, industry analyst, consultant and speaker who has been sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry for 25 years. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com.


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