Telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, said the capacity is there and access technology costs are coming down so ISPs can afford to offer bigger plans. But 1TB plans won’t appeal to many customers.
“What you have to realise is it is a rather limited market it is not going to have a massive affect over the overall market,” he said. “On the margin side, yes, they are definitely under pressure but at the same time the costs [for the ISPs] are also less so it is not as dramatic as it looks.”
iiNet chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said the ISPs user base didn’t consume ridiculous amounts of data when dismissing the need for unlimited plans at the AAPT acquisition press conference.
There will always be the early adopters that will take on these plans, such as the tech savy and heavy film downloaders, but it is the publicity the ISPs are receiving that is the most valuable to iiNet and iPrimus, Budde said.
“It’s great PR of course, but these plans will effect one, two, maybe three per cent of their customer base,” he said. “Obviously, this will attract people to the ISPs so they will have an opportunity to talk to them but the majority will go for smaller plans but at least they have a foot in the door with the customers.”
Market Clarity analyst, Richard Chirgwin, also found it hard to see mass market appeal for the 1TB plans but wouldn’t rule out the possiblility of wider adoption later down the track.
“It would be easy to make fun of it on the basis of ‘Who needs that sort of capacity, but I’m reluctant to do so because people always manage to find a way get there,” he said. “But even if you’re a heavy [movie] pirate, you would be working hard to use up the quota.”
Chirgwin suspects the plans themselves aren’t all that important but they are tools for ISPs to secure top positions in the broadband market.
“[1TB plans] might just be a positioning statement rather than an actual product,” he said.