Global Unlimited Mobile Tariffs Trends Report 2021: Unlimited Does Not Mean the Same for Each Operator –

DUBLIN–()–The “Tariff Trend Report: Move Towards Unlimited Mobile Tariffs” report has been added to’s offering.

The latest Tariff Trend Report called ‘Move Towards Unlimited Mobile Tariff’ establishes that MNOs increasingly launch ‘unlimited’ mobile tariff plans, it covers over 50 operators’ unlimited offerings.

This report examines the types of unlimited mobile data plans that are being introduced and the differences between plans. Not all MNO plans offer just unlimited mobile data but provide varied speeds for data or instead offer unlimited data usage for particular Apps.

A further trend shows that MNOs are also combining different pricing models in their plans. These include a standard per GB cap (as an entry level plan) unlimited data for social media use only and then an unlimited mobile data plan (as a premium product plan). Other MNOs, such as Vodafone, have introduced unlimited data plans which differ according to download speed, typically up to 2 Mbps, up to 10 Mbps and up to 1 Gbps.

The analyst looks at MNO strategies in markets including Finland (where all MNOs have adopted pricing based on access speed with unlimited data), the USA where MNOs have introduced unlimited mobile data plans as a standard offering and South America, where a number of MNOs have introduced unlimited data confined to a specific suite of Apps.

The report also gives insight into why operators launch unlimited plans, Virgin Media in the UK on launching its truly unlimited plan in 2018 said Virgin Mobile is giving its customers peace of mind by eliminating the fear of running out of data.

The report provides plenty of examples of what unlimited means to telcos.

Key findings are:

  • The use of unlimited mobile data plans is not new. Unlimited mobile data plans have been adopted either as a short-term promotion to accompany a new product launch or as a long-term strategy by a disruptive MNO (such as Free Mobile (France) or 3 (UK) entering the market as a fourth MNO aiming to gain subscriber share).
  • More recently unlimited mobile data has been introduced in markets to encourage the uptake of mobile data services (to avoid bill shock). The impact of the new plans has been to maintain ARPU levels and encourage customer loyalty (particularly by MNOs in the USA, including T-Mobile, Verizon & AT&T). The aim has been to encourage additional smartphone data usage without penalty for “coverages”. Australian and Canadian operators fall into this category.
  • With the launch of 5G services, there has been an adoption of unlimited mobile data plans as part of a premium plan to support a high price point with 5G. Some MNOs, such as Vodafone, have taken advantage of 5G to revamp their plans and offer unlimited mobile data as a standard offer. The result has been some simplification of plans, but also a need to provide other forms of differentiation (such as content).
  • But in a number of markets, MNOs are still being selective about how they introduce unlimited services. Unlimited call minutes and SMS are provided, but not always mobile data. Instead, there is the use of unlimited (or zero-rated) data for particular social networks or content streaming services, but not yet for all types of mobile data.
  • In short, although the use of unlimited mobile data plans is growing, MNOs appear still cautious about their introduction. Unlimited mobile data plans are instead being used as a premium product. MNOs fear that unlimited mobile data across all plans may reduce the opportunity to up-sell more services and gain more revenue. On April 14th, 2020 Reuters reported the CEO of German telco 1&1 Drillisch AG as saying: “Because of flat-rate deals, we hardly get any extra revenue if people spend more time surfing or talking on the phone,” – Ralph Dommermuth, CEO, 1&1 Drillisch.
  • Average data consumption is increasing and according to an Ericsson report published in November 2020, the global average was 9.6 GB in 2020 and increases to 34 GB by 2026, a CAGR of 24 percent. In Western Europe, the increase will be from 11.3 percent to 46 GB by 2026, shown as the second highest increase.

Key Topics Covered:

  • The Main Points – New Types of Unlimited Mobile Data Plans
  • Introduction
  • New Types of Unlimited Mobile Data plans with the impact of 5G Services
  • Finland – MNO plans off unlimited mobile data with differentiation based on download speeds
  • Telenor Norway – Case Study
  • Vodafone Group – Move to Unlimited Mobile Data Plans
  • MNOs Unlimited Plans Differentiated by Download Speed
  • MNOs with Unlimited Mobile Data for Specific Applications only
  • South America Case Study – No Unlimited Mobile Data but Unlimited Social Media Use Instead
  • USA Case Study – Examples of Unlimited Mobile Data Plans – Focus on the US Market
  • Unlimited Mobile data for Prepaid Customers
  • Unlimited Mobile for Convergent Customers
  • Conclusions – The new types of unlimited mobile data plan
  • Appendix I – Details of Vodafone subsidiaries’ unlimited tariff plans
  • Appendix II – List of operators covered

Companies Mentioned

  • 1&1 Drillisch AG
  • 3
  • A1 Austria
  • AT&T
  • Congstar
  • Elisa
  • Free Mobile (France)
  • Magenta Austria
  • O2 Germany
  • Orange
  • SFR
  • Sunrise Switzerland
  • T-Mobile
  • Telekom Germany
  • Telenor Norway
  • Telenor Sweden
  • Verizon
  • Virgin Media
  • Vodafone
  • YouTube

For more information about this report visit

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