T-Mobile today unveiled a monthly data rollover plan for consumers and business customers called "Data Stash," but the plan still won't allow workers to share their data with others in a work group.
Data Stash works much the same way for users who have a Simple Choice plan (or Simple Choice for Business Value Plan) and have purchased 3GB or more of LTE data per month for smartphones and 1GB or more for tablets.
T-Mobile will give those existing customers, as well as new customers, 10GB of free LTE data in January. The data must be used by the end of 2015, and once it's gone, each month of unused data in a plan can be rolled over monthly for up to a year.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere described data rollover as a high priority for customers, noting that they asked on Twitter in 2014 more than 40,000 times for such a program. And Legere bashed rivals like AT&T and Verizon Wireless who don't offer such a program, contending that $50 billion annually is lost by wireless customers who have paid for data but then see it disappear at the end of the month when it doesn't roll over.
"We're putting an end to this appalling industry practice today," he said.
Even so, Data Stash won't let workers share their data allotments with other workers in a group, as T-Mobile describes on its Web site: "Our data plans are specific to the person, so businesses aren't wasting time and effort tracking everyone's usage. In other words, this is not a shared data option."
Sharing data across a work group is often cited by Computerworld readers interested in lowering costs for themselves or their businesses. The practice is widely used by other carriers; by not offering data sharing, T-Mobile shows it's focused more on consumers than business customers.
T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said in a conference call with reporters that "we don't hate shared data, and we hate the way carriers have done it; the way they have done it is wrong."
Sievert argued that other carriers are using shared data business plans to lure businesses into plans that end up costing them punitive overage charges.
Sievert also admitted that T-Mobile has focused "mainly on the consumer with the business opportunity still in front of us." He promised specific announcements affecting business customers, specifically focused on SMBs, with customized plans for larger enterprises. He didn't elaborate, however.
Also on the conference call, Legere added: "We want to change the stupid, broken, arrogant [wireless] industry. We have not penetrated far into the business segment." There's a "spillover of things we've done for consumers" coming to business customers, he added.
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