A new study of U.S. mobile consumers finds that 90% of consumers overpay for unlimited data plans.
The report, which surveyed 400 U.S. consumers on major carrier unlimited plans, finds that 1 in 3 respondents use less than 5 GB per month, and 85% use less than 10 GB. The report was funded by Reach Mobile.
Over 90% of customers pay more than $60/month for their unlimited plans, presenting significant savings opportunities for users who don’t consume the typically allotted 20-24 GB of high-speed data. While such plans might benefit carriers, consumers end up overpaying.
To avoid overpaying for mobile service, the study suggests consumers should pay closer attention to their actual data usage to ensure they have picked a plan that fits their needs. Individuals that consume enough data to warrant an unlimited plan are outliers.
- A Cost Per Line to Data Usage Per Line matrix reveals more than half (58.6%) fall into the High Cost / Low Usage category. These are lines that cost more than $50/month and use less than 12 GB of data on average.
- Fewer than 1 in 4 respondents (22.5%) represent a High Cost / High Usage tier. Interestingly, only 1 in 10 respondents (10.5%) have a Low Cost / High Usage plan, suggesting true bargains for unlimited plans are rare.
- Of the 400 respondents, average length of time with a carrier is 7 years. Despite the longevity, sentiments toward the carriers are lukewarm at best. Only a third of respondents would enthusiastically recommend their plan to a family member or friend.
Savvy consumers will weigh the trade-offs of having the right amount of fast/highest-quality mobile data or an “unlimited” amount of potentially slower data.
“For many mobile consumers in the U.S., data consumption doesn’t align with unlimited plan value propositions,” said Mung Chiang, Purdue University. “A simple analysis of their data usage could yield substantial month-over-month savings, but consumers operate under the belief that everyone ‘needs’ an unlimited plan.”