Few Consumers Actually Switching Wireless Plans

As consumers continue to load up on unlimited data plans, mobile carriers are having to find new ways to entice them to switch providers. And increasingly, those enticements are coming through video services. 

According to research from Parks Associates, only 14% of U.S. mobile subscribers switched providers as a change to their mobile service plans. Despite intense efforts from the big four carriers, only 39% of subscribers made a change to their plans over the past year (most often a plan upgrade or a new phone). About a third of them have not made any changes to their services in two years. (New smartphone purchases account for more than 50% of all changes that consumers make to their plans.)

Because so few consumers are switching carriers, the providers are being forced to look at other ways to lure consumers. One of the most popular right now: offering streaming video content, such as Netflix (with T-Mobile), or Hulu (Sprint). 



"AT&T exempted DirecTV from mobile data caps, so its subscribers get video benefits with their mobile services," said Kristen Hanich, in a statement. "AT&T is looking to offer a wireless-centric video service offering, and in response, T-Mobile and Verizon are moving to introduce their own OTT TV services this year."

Earlier this year, The NPD Group's Brad Akyuz toldMarketing Daily unlimited data plans are becoming “table stakes” for wireless carriers, and that soon those carriers may start tiering video quality to bump users up to high-priced plans.

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