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Unlimited Mobile Data Plans Are Back

Only bolstering the case for global Wi-Fi and intelligent connection management

By Dennis Jones

Unlimited Cellular isn't the end of Wi-Fi

Perhaps, you weren’t aware, but recently, one by one, the big carriers have been re-introducing the unlimited mobile data plans that they started phasing out only a few years ago. In and of itself, that’s a pretty huge to-do, a fact we’ll get to soon enough, but there’s something else. Some media organs have been taking the reemergence of unlimited mobile data plans as the perfect opportunity to run with an altogether different story line, i.e. “the end of Wi-Fi.” But if you understood the dynamics of mobile data and the competitive pressures MNOs face, you would come to a very different conclusion.

That story line betrays a misunderstanding of the mobile market, especially of the significant pressures operators face to bring lots of mobile data to lots of subscribers, who continue to clamor for lots more. You’ve heard the expression, content is king, video content, in particular, according to the latest Cisco numbers. Subscribers are consuming tons of it and show no signs of changing their habits.

Moreover, they’re demanding this mobile data at lower prices than ever. That means that the (finite, comparatively more expensive) cellular capacity that’s being added to meet this demand is being consumed almost immediately. Those economics aren’t great for operators.

So what can be done? The pretty straightforward answer is Wi-Fi. And that’s why the “end of Wi-Fi” thesis is so absurd. For operators, Wi-Fi has not only emerged as an offload opportunity, but as a strategic necessity, one that can make or break operator margins, especially given the rebirth of unlimited mobile data plans.

Fortunately, that’s where we come in at iPass. Our value proposition to mobile operators specifically takes into account those subscriber economics. In fact, our patented, intelligent network selection technology, iPass SmartConnect™, was built with precisely the assumption that mobile data demand would outstrip supply in mind. In his latest LinkedIn post, Gary Griffiths discusses in depth how our technology provides the best connection for subscribers efficiently (for operators,) which positions iPass as the command center for global connectivity. Read up.