Unlimited data means more to smartphone users than savings

Jacqui Cheng

Photo CC by Daniel Hsu

Add this to the shocking information pile: mobile customers want unlimited data. This discovery was made by research firm Sanford Bernstein, which conducted a survey of more than 800 smartphone customers over their feelings on data caps, carrier choice, and pricing. They discovered that the prospect of unlimited data may be the most important criteria for users as a whole—even more than sticking with their favorite device.

The firm said that current wisdom has mobile customers being the most loyal to their favorite device—they will go anywhere as long as they can use the phone they want. (We have seen this behavior in recent years with the iPhone at AT&T, and more recently with some high-profile Android-based phones at other carriers too.) That attitude may be real, but Sanford Bernstein says that the appeal of unlimited data could override people’s urge to follow the hot products.

"The new conventional wisdom is that carrier loyalty has been replaced with loyalty to the device. But high inclination to switch carriers and phones to maintain an unlimited plan suggest that perhaps the plan itself is more important than either one," equities analyst Craig Moffett wrote.

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