Hong Kong operator PCCW is adopting a ‘quota-based’ approach to LTE data pricing and claims this is the fairest method of charging for services running over the new network technology.
In a new video interview with Mobile World Live, Richard Midgett, Managing Director – Wireless Business, PCCW, explains the rationale behind his company’s decision not to adopt an unlimited price plan for LTE: “There were a few controversial aspects of data services that we honed in on [when launching LTE]. One was the aspect of bill shock, when customers get charges that they didn’t anticipate. And the other was when operators offer unlimited packages they tended to have some sort of a fair use policy which ended up restricting the speeds or volumes that customers could actually gain access to.”
PCCW’s quota-based approach enables users to sign-up for a particular monthly data package – one GB, two GBs, five GBs or ten GBs – and top up that package whenever the bundle has been used. “That way they’re ordering up that amount of data in advance,” notes Midgett. “There is no bill shock, they know they’re spending the money. And by topping up they continue to enjoy full speed services. Under a fair use arrangement your speeds may drop but you have no way to recover on that.”
Midgett says the current packages on offer have enough volume for even the most data-hungry of consumers and are priced at levels competitive with previous unlimited packages. “So the initial impact on customers is very minimal and in fact it’s seen as being much more transparent and the customers feel that we’re being much more honest about how we’re working with them,” adds the PCCW man. “And that is our intention.”
Launched earlier this year, PCCW’s LTE network is small but growing fast. According to Wireless Intelligence, the network had approximately 4,000 connections as of end-June, representing a 5 percent market share of Hong Long’s LTE market. The analyst firm forecasts that this share will almost double by the end of this year, when it is expected to have connected around 15,000 LTE users.