Japanese operator KDDI will launch a mobile data plan for PCs on 21 June. Called LTE Data Pre-paid, it is offered via the operator’s Mobile Communications Plan and is enabled by the Windows April 2018 Update. It will be available to subscribers of KDDI and its subsidiary Okinawa Cellular who have Intel-based eSIM-compatible PCs running Microsoft Windows 10 with the latest update, from April 2018.
LTE Data Pre-paid makes 4G/LTE high-speed data communications services over the au network (au being the brand name of KDDI’s consumer mobile service) available to domestic users in Japan. Users will not need to purchase a separate SIM card. Additionally, users of both au smartphones and eSIM-enabled PCs who contract for fixed-price data service can “data-share” via the au smartphone and take advantage of the data capacity already purchased. The service will cost JPY 1,500 (US $13.68) per GB, valid for 31 days.
The ever-increasing demand for mobile data services includes PCs as well as the more-frequently-used smartphones and tablets. As more and more people expect access to high-speed mobile data at all times and places, on all kinds of devices, the eSIM market constitutes a source of revenue that operators should take full advantage of.
Laptop users on the go can get their data from public or private Wi-Fi networks, or by tethering to their smartphones. However, Wi-Fi is often compromised by reduced speeds due to too many users on the network, and tethering has limitations in that PCs may have higher data demands than smartphones do and not all smartphones are capable of being tethered. The eSIM technology, on the other hand, enables laptops to receive data directly from a cellular source. And given the fact that functionalities used on PCs can demand a great deal of high-speed data, we think that operators such as KDDI stand to earn a good deal of revenue from it.
Making LTE data available via eSIMs on compatible PCs, therefore, is a good move for MNOs, and doing it on a prepaid, per-gigabyte basis makes a lot of sense. In this case, the pricing is at a reasonable rate. Finally, the data-sharing feature of this offering is likely to be very appealing to subscribers who are already au users, in that they can apportion data allowances that they have already paid for across the two platforms—i.e., smartphone and PC. It would be a wise for operators to introduce offerings such as this one for a greater range of laptops and operating systems.