Unlimited data plans for mobile devices in mature markets are a thing of the past, as telecoms companies seek to reinvent themselves as cloud providers, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli.
The analyst firm explained that unlimited data plans across North America and Europe are increasingly being cancelled in favour of tiered plans, which will drive up costs for some companies and consumers.
Telecoms companies are dropping 'dumb' open data pipes in favour of 'smart' pipes that allow a greater variety of delivery and pricing options.
"Unlimited data has served its purpose well," Jagdish Rebello, principal analyst for communications and consumer electronics at IHS iSuppli, told V3.co.uk.
"It is very useful when you're trying to get customers used to mobile data. Now telecoms providers need to move on to a new pricing regime."
The report predicts that global data service revenue will rise by 9.1 per cent a year until 2015, double the growth of traditional traffic.
Data revenue should rise to $337.9bn by 2015, compared to $218.1bn in 2010, and make up 30 per cent of wireless traffic revenues.
Telecoms companies are also looking to become consumer cloud providers, offering a range of applications and services online. Rebello suggested that, while companies like AT&T and Verizon are making a play for the business market, most vendors will focus on consumers.
"Enterprise customers want more from a service provider. You'd have to offer security, data recovery and other services to try to deliver a package married to enterprise needs. Consumers, who are just starting to get educated about the cloud, need less," he said.
Early adopters, such as Apple iCloud fans, will jump into the service, but there is still a lot of work to be done to determine what people are willing to pay for cloud storage, Rebello concluded.
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