Is Unlimited Data for Business the Next Big Thing or a Short Term Gimmick?

May 27, 2021

Recently, T-Mobile announced their new Unlimited Data strategy to lure enterprise business accounts away from other U.S. carriers and onto their platform. They promise unlimited and unthrottled data as a distinct contrast to pooled plans, all for a low per-line rate. But is it too good to be true for businesses looking to better manage their wireless plans? 

T-Mobile CEO Michael Sievert on the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call spent a good chunk of time talking about the plan for expanding its business accounts. He said, “We’re bringing the Uncarrier to the business space and breaking down antiquated constructs just like we did for consumers by increasing our specialized sales force and building tailored products for large enterprises and government customers.” Sievert said businesses will gravitate away from pooled data plans and opt for unlimited data. “Carriers are still selling pooled, shared and limited data to enterprise customers,” he said.

The Mindglobal team has recently migrated several large accounts to T-Mobile, and while the initial savings can be significant, we have also observed that there are drawbacks to the plan that should be weighed with the benefits.

  • REPORTING: Traditional billing and reporting from carriers allowed for careful review of all charges for each individual line. However, organizations are finding it harder to allocate charges accurately to internal divisions and cost centers due to large account level billing on T-Mobile with a lack of granular reporting/allocating detail to the phone line level, causing accounting pain and headaches. 
  • FLEXIBILITY: Not all users need an unlimited plan, and since all lines are part of the same enterprise-wide account, they are all locked-in to a singular plan. In essence, you can’t offer Bob unlimited data because his role has him in the field most days, and keep Jim restricted to a data-cap if he’s working from the office, or his home, and is primarily using WiFi and not cellular data; in this scenario it’s all-or-nothing unlimited. 
  • PRICING: The Covid Relief rate – which varies based on a multitude of factors from $10-30/line/month – is for a limited time, and subject to increase upon contract renewal. Additionally, participation in this plan requires full-price hardware with monthly payments on all new hardware and equipment, whereas other vendors offer subsidized, one-time hardware pricing.  Often low cost incentives act as a loss-leader; a short-term marketing tactic to quickly gain new customers and lock them into a long-term contract. 

Mindglobal remains committed to being carrier-agnostic in our plan management. Of course, there are positives and negatives to all carriers, as the importance of billing, reporting, and coverage varies from business to business. We pride ourselves on knowing the good, bad and ugly and advising our clients on the best fit for their needs today, and the most flexibility for the future. 

Tags: at&t, covid, rate plan, savings, t-mobile, unlimited data, verizon