Vodafone Italia has enhanced its “Shake It Easy” plans, which are targeted at users under the age of 30, by adding an unlimited gaming data option. “Power Gaming” allows subscribers to play certain games, such as Asphalt 9: Legends, Brawl Stars, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Forge of Empires, Hay Day, Pokémon Go, Call of Duty and others without using up their data allowance.
Shake It Easy comes with unlimited calls and SMS plus 60 GB of mobile data for €14.99 (US $18.06) a month, rising to €16.99 (US $20.47) with 80 GB of data. Also included are unlimited texts and free data for social media, maps and digital music, plus Amazon Prime for six months.
Mobile gaming is increasingly popular and increasingly greedy for data. While games vary greatly in their data demands, a range of 40 MB to 300 MB per hour accounts for most of them. At these rates, dedicated gamers could easily put a very large dent in the data allowances of many if not most mobile plans.
With this situation in mind, Vodafone Italia is offering a plan suite with unlimited data for a pre-assigned assortment of games. In this case one should perhaps say “zero-rated” rather than “unlimited,” in the sense that the plans have quantified data allowances (60 GB or 80 GB per month), but the gaming data is exempted. There is also zero-rated data for certain other applications, such as social media apps and music streaming, making these offers appear very generous and appealing, to young users in particular, the target demographic for the Shake It Easy plans. Those under 30 are most likely to be heavy gamers, and they, of course, are also especially active on social media and in music consumption.
For Vodafone, this offering is beneficial in several ways. The operator is very likely being paid by the game companies for access to subscribers, so this revenue will be subsidizing the free data. As far as the consumers are concerned, the free gaming data is likely to stimulate uptake of the service and be a boon to the operator in terms of acquisition. In the longer term, as with many promotions, the free gaming data may be eliminated or capped, so that users can be upsold to richer plans to support their gaming habits.