Consumers on a Collision Course with Wireless Carriers Over Data Plans

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A study from Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies shows 52% of consumers are planning on purchasing a smartphone in the next two years, yet mobile data plans are not top of mind.

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As consumer's expectations increase and awareness of the cost of data consumption grows, hybrid networks that allow consumers to seamlessly switch between mobile data services are going to become increasingly important.

A recent study of over 1500 US consumers from Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found almost twice as many people plan to purchase a smartphone (52%) than a regular cell phone (29%) over the next two years. Yet when consumers were asked to prioritize communications services, mobile data service was at the bottom of the list—well below regular mobile phone-only service plans. Although mobile Internet access is going mainstream, mainstream consumers need help understanding mobile data service plans.

“It won’t be long before consumers will have sticker shock from mobile data overages given the growing appetite for bandwidth-intensive applications, the increasing ubiquity of mobile Internet usage and the phasing out of unlimited usage mobile data service plans,” says Chris Neal, vice president of Chadwick Martin Bailey’s technology and telecom practice. “As consumer’s expectations increase and awareness of the cost of data consumption grows, hybrid networks that allow consumers to seamlessly switch between mobile data services are going to become increasingly important.”

First it was AT&T and now Verizon Wireless has recently announced they are moving away from unlimited data plans to towards tiered-based pricing. This study found consumers have a mixed reaction when they were asked specifically about the new tiered based pricing. Close to 40% say they don’t like tiered based pricing plans and they are willing to switch carriers to avoid them, 51% say they like the option of a tiered plan along with the option for unlimited data, and 11% said they don’t like tiered plans but they would not switch carriers to avoid them.

“We are seeing smartphones become more ubiquitous and data plans become more varied and nuanced,” continues Chris. “Consumers and wireless carriers appear to be on a collision course over data usage and offerings.”

About This Research
An executive summary report with additional findings from this study is available as a free download from Chadwick Martin Bailey. Data was collected from 1,504 adults (aged 18 and over) via a nationally representative online survey questionnaire within the United States by Chadwick Martin Bailey the week of August 23rd. In addition, iModerate Research Technologies conducted one-on-one discussions to more fully contextualize their social media behaviors.

About Chadwick Martin Bailey
Chadwick Martin Bailey is a Boston-based custom market research firm who works with many of the most successful companies and best known brands in the world to help them acquire, maintain, and grow their customer base. They have recently been listed on the Honomichl Top 50 and continue to demonstrate their thought leadership at numerous conferences worldwide. Chadwick Martin Bailey focuses on using leading-edge research techniques to collect and translate the data into simple, business decision-focused deliverables. For more information please visit http://www.cmbinfo.com

About iModerate Research Technologies
iModerate Research Technologies listens, connects and digs deeper with consumers online to provide the research story organizations need to win in the marketplace. Years of research and development by veteran field experts, as well as analytical specialists, produced the concept, methodology and software that have allowed iModerate to help Fortune 500 companies, large and boutique research firms and prominent organizations strengthen their research results. Focused on providing customized qualitative solutions, iModerate is broadening online research capabilities by delivering essential qualitative insight. iModerate is based in Denver, Colorado. For more information please visit http://www.imoderate.com

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Kristen Garvey
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