As operators rush (well, some of them) to embrace content and provide customers with a unique digital experience, they may run the risk that their data pricing plans are becoming too complex.
Just last year #Sprint dumped “Framily” plans because they were difficult for consumers to understand and compare to other carriers’ data pricing plans – according David Owens, Sprint’s senior vice president of product development. This came after the carrier had spent a great deal of money promoting (here) the plan – it only lasted eight months.
Some operator’s data pricing plans make the Framily plan look easy. My main concern/question is that the amount of choice and complexity might cause some issues potential subscribers. As Barry Schwartz in his 2004 book, The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less, argues that eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers. Could Schwartz’s estimation be true for data pricing plans – has choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied? (Check out TED The paradox of choice)
T-Mobile’s Simple Choice Data Pricing Plans
Much of T-Mobile recent success can be associated with the its ability (perceived or otherwise) to create more straightforward data pricing plan. Heck, they even called it the “Simple Choice Plan” and their tag line is A wireless plan has never been such a Simple Choice (here). So I guess someone at #TMobile has figured out that simplifying data pricing plans will help consumers make a decision.
That’s all well and true for some markets, I hear you say, but what about more funky places? Some markets are already much further down than the US when it comes to creative (and complex) data pricing plans. Just check out Smart and Globe from the Philippines. These guys can get quite creative with their plans, bundling in OTT content by the hour in some cases. Their “Digital Lifestyle” position however, seems to take some of the pain and confusion out of the decision making process for customers. If they can get customers to respond/empathize with a particular online/digital lifestyle, the decision for the customer is less about speeds and feeds and more emotional.
In general though, data pricing plans are becoming rather more complex and will only become more so. Think what happens when IoT really takes hold and each customer has a dozen devices connected to the Internet. Keeping data pricing plans simple will be a HUGE issue for the industry.