Unlimited mobile data plans dying as telcos gear up for cloud future

Unlimited data plans for mobile devices in mature markets are a thing of the past, as telecommunications companies seek to reinvent themselves as cloud providers, a new report predicts.
Analysts at iSuppli noted that unlimited data plans were increasingly being cancelled in favour of tiered data plans across North America and Europe, which will drive up costs for some companies and consumers. Instead of ‘dumb,' open data pipes, telecommunications companies were building ‘smart' pipes that allowed for a greater variety of delivery and pricing options.
"It has served its purpose well; unlimited data is very useful when you're trying to get customers used to mobile data," Jagdish Rebello, principal analyst for communications and consumer electronics at HIS iSuppli told V3.co.uk. "Now telecommunications providers need to move on to a new pricing regime."
The report predicts that global data service revenue will rise at a 9.1 per cent a year until 2015, double the growth of traditional traffic. By 2015 data revenue should rise to $337.9bn, compared to $218.1bn in 2010, and make up 30 per cent of wireless traffic revenues.
Looking ahead Rebello said that telecommunications companies were looking to become consumer cloud providers, offering a range of applications and services online. He suggested that while companies like AT&T and Verizon are making a play or the business market, most vendors will focus on consumers."Enterprise customers want more from a service provider," he explained."You'd have to offer security, data recovery, and other services to try to deliver a package married to enterprise needs. Consumers, who are just starting to get educated about the cloud, need less."
So far early adopters, such as Apple iCloud fans, will jump into the service but there was still a lot of work to be done to find out what people are willing to pay for cloud storage he concluded.

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