The Wireless Miser's Blog

The death of all-you-can-eat data

Now that Verizon has announced the end of unlimited data plans, corporate telecom managers will have to rethink the way they buy wireless plans for their users.

Unlimited data made things easy for us. It absolved us of the need to think. We could just throw a few extra dollars at our carriers, and any responsibility we might have to actually understand users’ behaviors—and to closely align our spending with those behaviors—magically went away. Poof.

With the death of unlimited data, however, we will eventually have to do what managers are paid to do—which is manage. Shocking, I know. But it is a cruel world, and we must accept its fallen state.

Most of us are still “grandfathered” in, of course—so our day of reckoning is still a ways off. Verizon’s announcement should, however, act as a wake-up call for the entire industry. So we would be well-advised to start taking a long, hard look at how we buy wireless data services.

In fact, rather than being bad news, the Verizon announcement may be just what we needed to get our wireless house in order.

Here are three actions to consider taking today:

1. Baseline everybody’s data usage. You can’t make good buying decisions if you don’t know what your actual needs are. If you can’t easily generate reports that show you your top users, month-to-month utilization trends, etc., then you need to fix that problem first.

2. Find out what is driving that usage. Don’t assume someone’s high use of data is simply the result of browsing the web a lot, when what really happened is that they downloaded a couple of cute kitten videos from Facebook. And don’t assume everyone understands that those two behaviors might not equally constitute legitimate use.

3. Get people off unlimited plans now. You probably shouldn’t continue overpaying for unlimited data plans simply because Verizon is allowing you to continue doing so. There may, in fact, be better things that your company could do with its money. So start putting people on cheaper plans if that make more sense for them.

By the way, when you take people off an unlimited plan, you have to tell them you’ve taken them off an unlimited plan. That way, you won’t have to worry about them suddenly starting to treat wireless data like it’s free. Because it’s not.

Do you buy unlimited data plans for your users by default? Or do you have a different system for determining which users get which plan? I’d love to know how you do it! Just contact me at