Two-thirds of Americans unwilling to spend over $50 on mobile data

A new study from Parks Associates found that two-thirds of U.S. consumers are unwilling to spend more than $50 per month on mobile data plans, while almost half of smartphone users were unsure how much data they consumed each month.  The report highlights the risks carriers face as they try to shift consumers from unlimited data plans to usage-based ones. “Moving mobile users to usage-based plans will be difficult and painful, but changes are necessary for operators to maintain revenues,” said Harry Wang, Director of Mobile Research at Parks Associates. “Operators would benefit by recasting mobile data services as experience-driven in order to reduce price sensitivity, fend off competition, and keep their mobile data revenue engine humming.” The firm believes that in order for carriers to maximize their revenues, they should tie in their offerings to popular apps and services, including TV, music, books, newspapers, games, location-based services, and social activities, rather than charging consumers per megabyte. Read on for Parks Associates’s press release.

Parks Associates: Two-thirds of U.S. Mobile Consumers Won’t Pay more than $50/Month for Mobile Data

DALLAS, April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Parks Associates research finds two-thirds of U.S. consumers planning to purchase a smartphone are unwilling to pay more than $50 per month for mobile data plans while almost 50% of smartphone users do not know how much mobile data they use each month. The firm’s analysts say these findings, from the report Mobile Data and Applications: Market Update, highlight the risks to mobile operators as they try to shift from unlimited to usage-based mobile data plans.

“Operators need to create new value propositions for their data services,” said Harry Wang, Director, Mobile Research, Parks Associates. “U.S. consumers are accustomed to unlimited data use for one fixed price. They are reluctantly embracing the capped data plan tiers, but they have high price sensitivity and will rebel against byte-tracking. Operators need to shift consumers’ perception away from raw data to the experience created by their data services.”

Parks Associates finds over 90% of U.S. smartphone owners have downloaded apps since product purchase, at an average of two apps per month. Worldwide, consumers will spend over $14 billion on smartphone app downloads in 2012. To maximize their revenues, operators need to tie their offerings to popular apps and services, including TV, music, books, newspapers, games, location-based services, and social activities, rather than charging consumers per megabyte.

“Moving mobile users to usage-based plans will be difficult and painful, but changes are necessary for operators to maintain revenues,” Wang said. “Operators would benefit by recasting mobile data services as experience-driven in order to reduce price sensitivity, fend off competition, and keep their mobile data revenue engine humming.”

Parks Associates will discuss operator strategies to monetize mobile data and redefine consumers’ 4G experience at CONNECTIONS™: The Digital Living Conference and Showcase, June 5-7, co-located with TIA 2012 in Dallas, Texas.

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