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Abolish unlimited data packages for LTE says report

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Operators should end all-you-can-eat pricing models for LTE, analysts advised on Thursday. The LTE Tariff Comparisons report, from Ovum telco strategy analyst Nicole McCormick, notes that South Korean operators SK Telecom and LG U+, the largest and smallest players in their respective market, have launched LTE services with capped data plans rather than the previously favoured unlimited data.

In the upcoming report, McCormick welcomed the move, stating that operators should be careful not to repeat the mistakes made in the 3G world, where unlimited deals overburdened networks.

“While LTE delivers video more efficiently than 3G, operators offering flat rates for LTE could quickly overstretch their LTE networks and find themselves having to invest more than expected to alleviate this congestion,” said McCormick

However, most operators round the world are still favouring unlimited plans. “Big bucket and unlimited pricing dominate LTE offerings across the globe,” said McCormick, whose research analysed LTE tariffs in nine markets:  Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, Japan and, the US. McCormick notes that operators that have recently launched LTE, such as, Hong Kong’s CSL and Singapore’s M1, have stayed with unlimited data packages.

McCormick observed that LTE offered operators a clean slate to re-evaluate their pricing but that they were by and large not taking up the opportunity. “In general, we were disappointed to find a lack of innovation from these LTE first-mover operators in packaging and pricing LTE tariffs for blue-chip customers.”

The sixth annual LTE Asia conference, takes place in Suntec, Singapore, on the 5-7th September 2011

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