C Spire Wireless isn’t getting the credit it deserves.
Right now Sprint’s offer to halve the bills of AT&T and Verizon defectors is garnering all the hype. But C Spire last week, just before the long holiday weekend, dropped an honest-to-goodness revolutionary wireless plan.
The Tier 2 carrier is now offering to rollover its customers unused data. Three different plans (2GB, 4GB and 6GB) can all accrue up to the plan maximum of untouched data instead of releasing it into the ether at the end of each billing cycle.
It’s not exactly a new idea. It’s essentially modeled after the rollover minutes policies of years ago before unlimited talk was the norm. But there isn’t a single carrier—not even the Uncarrier T-Mobile—that has ever presented such a thoughtful offer to customers.
Cisco estimates the average U.S. smartphone user bit off 1.4GB of cellular data per month during 2013. A customer who stays true to that average and opts for C Spire’s 2GB rollover data plan will avoid wasting 7.2GB of data each year.
The number of data snatched back from the swirling drain would likely go up with C Spire’s other two rollover data options. It’s a good deal that is only available to C Spire customers within the carrier’s limited coverage area.
But what if a nationwide Tier 1 put a plan like this in place? Some would argue that unlimited plans, like the $50 single-line option at T-Mobile, eliminate need for something like rollover data. But T-Mobile’s unlimited plans face throttling after a high-speed data allowance is surpassed. Maybe a carrier like T-Mobile could rollover unused high-speed data? Uncarrier 8.0 anybody?
With a smaller coverage map and customer base, C Spire probably won’t experience the billings and logistics nightmare that a Tier 1 would encounter getting an offer like this up and running.
But for a carrier like Sprint, desperate for some differentiation among the Big Four, it might be worth the headache to be the first nationwide carrier to offer up rollover data.
Would you pay for rollover data? Or is unused data the consumer’s problem, not the carrier’s?