Fear of extra mobile data charges hurts usage: survey

Joseph Waring
22 Apr 2014

A majority of mobile users in US exceed their monthly data limit while an even higher percentage worry about exceeding it. Of subscribers watching mobile video (one or more per month), 67% say they have exceeded their monthly data quota. That number drops to 36% for those viewing less than one mobile video per month.

These are the top findings of a recent survey by Wakefield Research on behalf of Citrix.

According to the survey, 82% of users say they avoid using an app due to data usage worries. iPhones users are more concerned about data overages than Android smartphone subscribers (66% vs 48%).

The survey found 72% of parents believe they went over their monthly limits while just 46% adults with no children say they exceed them.

Fear of having to pay extra is certainly curtailing usage, which is something cellcos need to address now that most have moved off flat-rate unlimited packages.

Last week in the US, third-ranked T-Mobile announced it was eliminating overage charges and called on its rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless to do the same. T-Mobile users who exceed their limit will then be throttled – so in effect have unlimited data – but can pay extra (at same price per Mb of their plan – not a rate many times higher) to regain high-speed access.

T-Mobile estimates that consumers in the US paid as much as $1 billion last year in overage charges.

Given consumers are demanding more data, but at the same time fear going over their limits, a high percentage of those polled said they would use more data services if offered through a data plan sponsored by a content provider.

Millennials are more open to sponsored plans compared to baby boomers (78% vs 52%). Men are also more accepting than women (71% vs 62%). Parents are more interested in sponsored data plans compared to non-parents (77% vs 58%).

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