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More than half of European mobile subscribers could abandon their mobile operator to get unlimited video data-plans

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Since last year’s launch of T-Mobile USA’s Binge On unlimited video service, mobile operators worldwide have closely followed the program’s success and now their worries are coming true. While industry experts have speculated on the viability of similar data plans in other regions, Openwave Mobility launched an extensive survey of subscribers across the three most populous European Union countries to find out.

And the findings reveal that more than half of subscribers (57.3%) across the UK, France and Germany would consider switching mobile operators in order to get unlimited video.Unsurprisingly, the groups most interested in video services are Millennials and Generation X, with two out of three respondents age 16 through 44 indicating they would consider abandoning their mobile operator in favor of a competitor offering unlimited video. And they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is — European millennials are willing to pay an average €9 extra per month to binge on “all-you-can-eat” video.

Most at risk of losing subscribers are mobile operators in Germany where more than 70% percent of respondents across all age groups and cities stated they would consider switching to a competitor offering a Binge On video pricing-model.

And the implications even go beyond video. Respondents indicated they were keen to also consider zero-rated, browsing, roaming, music streaming, social media and gaming services.

“Operators can go one better than Binge On and use optimization technology to offer other ‘unlimited’ data services,” said John Giere, president and CEO, Openwave Mobility. “There are fears of revenue loss but this study and our work with mobile operators shows that zero-rating the right plan and the right service increases both uptake and overall revenues –T-Mobile USA has demonstrated that. Smart mobile operators can go one better and utilize QoE based video optimization to reduce video stalling’ matched with innovative data plans to attract subscribers.”

These views are supported by industry analysts. “With intelligent video optimization, any mobile operator can match the Binge On option. An operator can reduce the bandwidth needed to deliver Over the Top (OTT) content while preserving good video quality and performance on mobile.” said Sue Rudd, Director, Service Provider Analysis at Strategy Analytics. “Our User Experience service (UX) reported in March showed that T-Mobile data traffic declined for Binge On users by between 10%-12% driven by optimization while the operator saw robust growth in both net-additions and ARPU.”

What do subscribers in Europe actually want to watch on mobile? In terms of preferred Over the Top video services the clear winner was YouTube, favored by 75 percent of survey respondents overall. Netflix and Amazon Video placed second and third in the rankings, followed by regional services. This indicates the importance of being able to optimize mobile networks that carry encrypted video content and advertising.

To help operators evaluate a Binge On type plan for their networks, Openwave Mobility offers a data-monetization calculator. Visit landing.owmobility.com/bingeonbetter/.

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