World LTE Tariffs Analysis
With the global roll-out of LTE networks the various tariff strategies of the operators can now be usefully collated and assessed.
It is essential for product marketing managers to consider how their peers and competitors are building their pricing strategies – gaining customer mindshare amongst early adopters may translate into strong market shares as LTE becomes mainstream. With over 145 live networks in 66 countries by the end of January 2013, the number of LTE connections has already reached 69 million. Quantum Web forecasts that the number of connections will rapidly rise to 3 billion by 2020.
Follow-on analysis and market research by Quantum Web will be performed once the numbers of connections becomes significant enough to indicate which tariffs and packages have appealed the most to operators’ target customer groups. Ultimately we will be able to determine which tariffs and customer adoptions are proving to be the most profitable for the mobile network operators.
The initial decision faced by the operators has been whether to charge a premium for LTE services over 3G. Quantum Web has found that many operators in Nordic countries in Europe who initially charged a premium for LTE have subsequently revised the premiums down. Indeed many of the most successful LTE operators so far (measured by connections) have not charged a premium. This latter category includes Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile US, and AT&T in the US.
Generally LTE tariffs and packages are very complex, and hard to compare. Firstly tariffs are increasingly set according to the headline download speed offered (up to 150Mbps), but there are many more variables that Quantum Web tracks and reports when assessing the full packages offered:
1) Is the package stand-alone (data only) or double-play (voice, messaging and data)
2) Is the package offered on a SIM-only, handset, dongle, or wireless modem (potential fixed broadband substitute)?
3) Can the data/service provided be shared over multiple devices?
These are in addition to the existing 3G variables such as:
4) Pre- or post-paid contract?
5) Volume of data included in the package
6) Use of Wifi hotspots included?
The operators offering the greatest variety of LTE packages seen to date are: Vodafone Germany and Vodafone Italy, Deutsche Telekom Hungary, Omantel, PCCW Hong Kong, Singtel and Telstra in Australia and Verizon in the US. These operators offer LTE packages on nearly all type of devices to their clients. According to our findings Verizon “share everything” plan allows data, text and voice to be shared with any device on the customer’s account across up to 10 devices for residential and up to 25 devices for small businesses.