Document Type

Research Paper


The fair use flat rate is a promising tariff concept for the mobile telecommunication industry. Similar to classical flat rates it allows unlimited usage at a fixed monthly fee. Contrary to classical flat rates it limits the access speed once a certain usage threshold is exceeded. Due to the current global roll-out of the LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology and the related economic changes for telecommunication providers, the application of fair use flat rates needs a reassessment. We therefore propose a simulation model to evaluate different pricing strategies and their contribution margin impact. The key input element of the model is provided by socalled discrete choice experiments that allow the estimation of customer preferences. Based on this customer information and the simulation results, the article provides the following recommendations. Classical flat rates do not allow profitable provisioning of mobile Internet access. Instead, operators should apply fair use flat rates with a lower usage threshold of 1 or 3 GB which leads to an improved contribution margin. Bandwidth and speed are secondary and do merely impact customer preferences. The main motivation for new mobile technologies such as LTE should therefore be to improve the cost structure of an operator rather than using it to skim an assumed higher willingness to pay of mobile subscribers.