There is a limit to what people will pay for unlimited data plans.
Despite finding that nearly half of consumers don’t know how much mobile data they use every month, two-thirds of them are unwilling to pay more than $50 a month for their service plans, according to new research from Parks Associates. Even at that level, unlimited data could become an expensive proposition, says Harry Wang, director of mobile research at the firm.
“Consumers’ budgets have a limit, and carriers cannot expect people to pay more for the data,” Wang tells Marketing Daily. “A lot of the current solution –- throttling –- isn’t doing well with consumers. They hate that kind of experience. At a certain point, they will ask for a certain remedy from the carriers.”
It’s time, Wang says, for the wireless carriers to “shift consumers’ perception away from raw data to the experience created by their data services.”
With more than 90% of smartphone owners downloading apps at an average of two per month, people will spend more than $14 billion this year on downloads, according to Parks Associates. To keep up with the growing demand, wireless operators may look to tie their offerings and data to popular apps and services, offering differing types of plans to different consumers, based on the way they use their phones, Wang says. Such models have begun being used in overseas markets, he says.
“At some point [U.S. carriers] have to stop branding the services as unlimited and begin stressing experience services,” Wang says. “Recognizing different types of needs and services would be more appropriate than monetizing on just data consumption.”