Hello? Is this a telco? Great, I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m your worst nightmare.
Let me explain. Up until a month ago, I had owned a string of feature phones that offered very little in terms of bells and whistles. I was able to make calls, send texts, listen to voicemails and a couple of them even came with games! To me this was fine, and to you, I was a delight: A customer who paid my bill, brought little traffic onto the network and felt upgrading to a smartphone was too expensive.
Then my phone died. Made a call one night, put it in my pocket, took it out three minutes later, and poof, it was dead. This is the part of the story when the full moon would come out, or when Dr. Frankenstein would flip the switch. I was ready to change. I wanted a smartphone and I wanted data. I wanted apps and I wanted video, and just like Veruca Salt, I wanted it now! Sadly for you, that is exactly what I did. I got an iPhone 4 and I am contributing daily to the flow of traffic on your network. I have become a zombie with a voracious hunger for data.
I stream Netflix on your network. I download apps over your network. I could download them on my computer and then upload them to my iPhone, but why bother? I’m just a bandwidth-sucking vampire now and I can’t be home at night to plug into a laptop. And FaceTime?! It’s like I am in “Back to the Future Part II,” only I’m doing it today! I went from no data on Friday night to streaming a movie on my iPhone on Saturday, and I haven’t looked back. And my bill only went up $10.
That’s the kicker, telcos. That’s what should be giving you cold sweats at night. The explosion of data traffic that will hit your network with no sign of accompanying profit increases. I’m not the first creation of a data monster and I won’t be the last. There will be more like me making the switch everyday, resulting in more traffic and driving more expenses for you.
Yankee Group will be looking deeper into this issue in the coming months. One potential piece of garlic or a silver bullet you could explore today would be a tiered data plan for customers where there is an extra cost for higher video quality. Whatever you chose, you need to develop new revenue streams to combat my now insatiable appetite for consuming data on your network. Because unlike Freddy Krueger, I’m not a nightmare that only gets you in your dreams. I’m in real life and there are more of me to come.