As operators across Europe prepare for LTE launches by thinking about their data tariffs and how they can match pricing to consumer needs, here's an approach from Swisscom that bundles existing fixed or mobile data subscriptions with speed-based pricing for tablet and laptop use.
Swisscom is introducing new data tariffs for laptop or iPad users based on speed and is offering them at a discount to existing subscribers to fixed or mobile data packages.
As you can see from this PDF, the maximum downlink speeds for the four tariffs are: 1Mbps, 7.2Mbps, 21Mbps and100Mbps. Uplink speeds are graded at 0.5Mbps, 1Mbps, 2Mbps and 10Mbps.
Swisscom has also explained the tariffs in terms of usage. So for CHF39 (€32) per month, users are told they get speeds that are suited to browsing and messaging type activities. A CHF49 tariff adds in speed that would support a good video or streaming music experience. Then there is an LTE tariff, the Natel data XL – offering data-only LTE speeds for CHF89 per month. Swisscom is due to launch LTE in December 2012.
The hook is that if a user is already a subscriber to one of Swisscom's Natel infinity tariff (Swisscom has 600k of them), or is an ADSL subscriber, or has purchased and SME package or Vivo Casa bundle, the added data tariff will be heavily discounted.
So an existing sub will get the slower mobile data package for just CHF9, rather than CHF39 per month. And the guy that wants the faster speed package, and is already signed up to one of the other tariffs, gets that for CHF29 per month, rather than CHF49. For the LTE rate, existing subs will pay CHF69 per month, instead of CHF89 for a standalone subscription.
In essence, what we have is a group data or multi-SIM plan that lets users add a tablet or laptop to their overall package at a heavily discounted headline rate, although the LTE discount is relatively less generous. And the pricing is based on speed, rather than volume. The result of that approach is that it allows Swisscom to market the tablet tariff as being "just CHF9 per month".
Another item to note is that Swisscom is also thinking about how users can manage their own usage. First off, when/if the data allowance of 5 GB or 10 GB is used up, no additional costs are incurred but customers can continue to surf the web but at a very heavily constricted speed (64 Kbps). Secondly, the operator is expanding its data usage portal, called Cockpit, to provide users with data on their usage for both roaming and "home" usage.