Forum Oxford Conference summary – and more evidence that flat rate data drives uptake
In Martin’s excellent summary, the one topic that stood out for me was the comment from Antonio Vince Stabyl – CEO of itsmy.com (Gofresh) who said during his presentation that their service first became successful when it was discovered by users in the U.S. markets with reasonably priced flat rate mobile data. Apparently the service was promoted virally when people having data flat rates recommended the service to friends.
Ergo…flat rate data plans drive uptake – as any mobile operator around the world with an iPhone exclusive deal keep reporting.
Importantly, recent reports show that many UK broadband users are finding they are getting charged excess bandwidth fees (classic bill shock) as they start to use data intensive video services such as the BBC’s new iPlayer. This is a great new service from the BBC that allows UK residents to stream a seemingly endless amount of content – including the ability to “catch up” (who needs a TiVo) on past BBC shows.
As I have been saying since December, without access to flat rate data plans, mobile advertising will suffer a slower adoption rate because users will be afraid to download any rich content, for fear of a big bill at the end of the month, or unexpectedly running out of pre-paid credit. The issue identified above with broadband users in the UK will make mobile users think twice before clicking “ok to download”. The US experience, and the evidence that smart mobile users are seeking out flat rate, or reasonably priced data plans should be a wake-up call to mobile operators.
Unfortunately, flat rate or “all you can eat” data plans, available on increasingly faster 3G networks will come at a much faster rate than unlimited voice plans did. Perhaps the interest in mobile advertising from the mobile operators stems also from the desire for additional revenue streams from advertising once voice and data has gone flat rate.