U.S. Cellular revealed last month that it would be changing its upgrade policy at the end of July, axing its "One and Done" program and requiring customers to sign a new two-year contract in order to receive subsidized pricing on a device. Now it looks like U.S. Cellular customers are in store for another major policy change, as a newly-leaked image has revealed that the carrier is planning to introduce "Shared Data" plans.
According to sources speaking to Droid-Life, U.S. Cellular employees are currently undergoing training for Shared Data plans and the benefits that they bring. An image of U.S. Cellular's internal system shows that the company is positioning these plans as an economic way to connect several data-hungry devices to the U.S. Cellular network. The carrier also says that the plans are meant to help customers more easily keep track of their billing and usage.
Details on the Shard Data plans themselves are light, but it's said that they could include an unlimited talk and text package that could then be supplemented with data buckets of various sizes, which would be similar to AT&T and Verizon's existing shared data offerings. The plans may be slated for launch sometime in late September.
Consumers are increasingly adopting smartphones, gobbling data and even picking up a cellular-enabled tablet or hotspot, and so it's not a huge surprise to hear that U.S. Cellular may soon be turning to shared data offerings. Not only does it make figuring out a rate plan much simpler for most consumers, but as this leaked U.S. Cellular document notes, it also helps the carrier to increase its Average Revenue Per Account (ARPU) and to grow the number of data devices that customers use. Stay tuned and I'll give you a shout once we get more information on U.S. Cellular's shared data plans.