Missed carrier opportunity: Data plan discounts with voice plan

Summary:I have a 4G-enabled smartphone with a data plan, a 3G-enabled tablet with a data plan and a 4G-enabled mobile hotspot with a data plan. Mobile carriers do not offer discounts for customers with multiple lines, leaving me free to move to a competitor.

I am as connected as anyone in the mobile space, due to my preoccupation with mobile technology and the work that I do. I have a 4G-enabled smartphone with a data plan, a 3G-enabled tablet with a data plan and a 4G-enabled mobile hotspot with a data plan. I am trebly connected, you might say. All of those data plans are with Sprint currently, but the launch of the Verizon 4G LTE MiFi has me considering dropping the Sprint Overdrive and picking up the faster MiFi. Surprisingly, mobile carriers are missing an opportunity, as none of them, Sprint included, offer discounts for customers that get both a voice and a separate data line. That leaves me free to drop the Sprint data line and go with Verizon.

Many businesses realize the benefits of having multiple services with customers. My insurance company gives me healthy discounts for having both my home and my cars insured with them. My cable company gives me a healthy discount for having both my cable TV and my home phone service with them. You'd think that mobile carriers would offer similar discounts for customers with multiple services, but not a single one I could find will do that. The appearance of tablets on the scene makes this an even greater oversight, as customers are less likely to get a tablet data plan if they already have a phone plan, especially lacking a discount.

Call it greed or poor business practice, the end result is the same. I am seriously considering dropping a service with Sprint that I have enjoyed for a good while, to go with a competitor. And nothing Sprint does will prevent that, or even give me pause to rethink things. I simply drop the service and move to a better one.

Perhaps Sprint will kick in a last-minute effort to keep me on its list of accounts when I drop by to cancel the data line. It would be nice to see them go to at least that much effort. It won't matter though, because at that point I will have done all the considering I am willing to do about the move. It will be too little, too late.

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Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Networking, Smartphones, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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