Survey Says: Users hate Data Caps!

Posted on October 21, 2010

On a quarterly basis Devicescape partners with friends in the industry to tap into our consumer base to better understand their wants and needs. This last quarter, Devicescape partnered with Eye-Fi, the creator of the world’s first wireless memory card and a Devicescape Easy WiFi customer (thank you Eye-Fi).

One of the items we wanted to ask about this time was the issue of data capping of cellular data plans.  We figured that in light of all the  recent news around this hot topic—AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are all talking about data capping and tiered pricing—we should hear from our users.

Wow!  What a response: the majority of respondents (77.9 percent) would consider switching service providers if their current plan was data-capped. Clearly it’s a contentious issue.  Almost 79 percent indicated data capping would impact their use of applications (particularly, and unsurprisingly, how much video they stream).

Some other highlights:

Almost 91 percent of respondents feared their service providers would pass along to them costs associated with data traffic surges.

A majority of respondents (61.2 percent) indicated they would not pay a premium price for an unlimited data plan.

Still, a fair number of respondents (38.8 percent) indicated they would pay a premium price for unlimited data plans. Almost 60 percent of this group indicated that they would pay less than $25 per month, while 33.1 percent would pay up to $50.
Beyond issues around carriers and data capping, Devicescape also took the opportunity to use this survey and peer into general attitudes around WiFi. If you want to read the full report to learn about WiFi usage while traveling to photo sharing favorite best practices, click here for all the rich data and interesting tid bits.

It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens downstream.  Clearly the mobile operators have a challenge on their hands managing the explosion of traffic and dealing with much higher costs, while users expect unlimited and cheap access.  To quote Scotty from Star Trek (showing my age here): “Something has to give, Captain!”  WiFi data offload, anyone?