T-Mobile Rips AT&T, Verizon Shared Data, Says Customers Don’t Want It

The nation’s top two wireless carriers are eying shared data plans for families and businesses. T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless provider, implies it’s a decision they should rethink.

“Do families really want to keep track of each other’s data consumption? We don’t think so,” wrote T-Mobile’s Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president of marketing, in a blog last week. “Just imagine mom’s email is suddenly unavailable because her teenage son watched an HD movie on his phone, consuming the family’s data allotment.”

“T-Mobile believes that consumers today do not want a ‘one size fits all’ approach to shared family data plans, nor would they benefit from that model,” Sherrard asserted.

Verizon Wireless feels differently about shared data. In fact, it plans to unveil a shared data offering this summer, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said during a recent J.P. Morgan conference. Verizon believes the plan will enable the nation’s largest wireless provider to continue to increase its average revenue per user while giving customers a greater incentive to connect additional devices.

“I think if you looked more holistically and just look at just the data share overall, if I can add as many devices as I want and share that data plan, that is a lot more efficient from a family share perspective, from a small-business perspective,” Shammo said. “And I think at least where I sit and look at that, I say to myself, ok there is a large ramp of devices out there that, especially when you think about families, they are not connecting those devices because of the incremental cost in the model we have today.”

AT&T also is looking into shared data plans, although an AT&T spokesman confirmed the company has not announced specific plans or a timeline.

A spokesperson for Sprint didn’t immediately respond Wednesday when asked about any interest in shared data plans.

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