More innovative data plans may result from the emergence of new wireless technologies and unlimited data plans. CCS Insight highlighted that the emergence of 5G and the proliferation of unlimited plans should force carriers to be more creative and innovative about their offerings. The combination of 5G, gigabit LTE, and unlimited plans can make it difficult for wireless carriers to transform the data use of subscribers necessary to improve return on investment on its network. CCS Insight urges carriers to develop plans suitable for specific users, depending on what devices they have and the services they mostly use. CCS Insight also noted that plans which suit and adapt to the user will be the proper foundation for upcoming 5G network environments.
CCS Insight suggested some possible plan offerings for carriers. Among them are plans based on speed tiers rather than data caps, similar to those offered in Finland. For example, a Finnish carrier offers unlimited data plans, which include unlimited tethering, with different speed tiers, a cheaper one at 21Mbps and a more expensive plan at 50Mbps. Plans based on speed tiers can also be used in offering wireless home broadband solutions for rural areas using 4G or 5G technologies. Another suggestion is to provide an unlimited plan as a high-end offering and a plan with data caps as a much cheaper offering.
Carriers in the US and Europe have announced unlimited plans in hopes of better competing with business rivals. In the US, all the major carriers have released their own form of unlimited plans, under the condition that networks may throttle data speeds upon reaching a soft data cap. US Carriers also limit mobile hotspot and, at times, data streaming. Offering of unlimited data plans will likely have a negative impact on the bottom line of the wireless carriers. Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the US, has struggled to grow its wireless business, with the company expecting to see smaller profit margins from the wireless division. Estimates see Verizon posting negative growth compared to the same period last year. Other carriers are also expected to report lower revenue or profit due to increased competition in the wireless market.