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Previously unpublished survey results give us some feel for how mobile operators feel about data caps, 4G network spending and mobile device usage
SlideshowSurvey: Mobile Data Caps Matter
Phil Harvey
Slide Shows
Phil Harvey
12/20/2012
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Wireless operators are using data caps to defend profit margins, they're seeing a sharp rise in tablet usage, and they expect capital spending on 4G networks to grow more than 10 percent in the next three years. That's what we learned from a recent survey of mobile operators on their views about mobile device usage and network spending.

We've excerpted this survey, conducted in October by Heavy Reading and InformationWeek with results from 60 mobile operators and 230 business technology professionals, to graphically show just the results from mobile operators for this article.

Click on the questions below to find out what mobile operators said in response to the following questions:



— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading.

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joset01
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joset01,
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1/5/2013 | 2:03:33 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


Kind of. Remember that T-Mobile did actually go back to unlimited this year.

Pete Baldwin
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Pete Baldwin,
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1/5/2013 | 2:03:33 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


So, it looks like the service providers really love their data caps. Guess we can't look for caps to go away any time soon.

DCITDave
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DCITDave,
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1/5/2013 | 2:03:32 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


Which major carriers offer an unlimited data option (and actually mean it)?

joset01
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joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:31 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


In the U.S., its Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS and the various Sprint MVNO offshoots (Virgin Mobile etc.)

joset01
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joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:31 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


I know from talking to Sprint executives last year that they were worried about tablets congesting coverage at a specific cellsite because just a couple of users could pull down A LOT of video over the air. You'll notice that tablets and laptops aren't covered by Sprint's unlimited plan.


 


 

DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:31 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


Yes, i noticed that. I think the inherent limitation of what you can do on smartphones sort of sets an automatic data cap, especially if you're not tethering to a larger device. Does that sound reasonable or am I assuming that small screen size = not as much data as most people think?

DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:31 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


I don't know if I buy the argument that data caps help provide a better quality of experience for all on the network. Especially on LTE networks, they're hardly crowded at the moment -- even after the iPhone 5. Why risk discouraging usage when folks are just getting used to LTE speeds?

DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:21 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


It does indeed. I was surprised at the size and clarity of those screens when I played with them at the AT&T store the other day. Before that I had only seen the Galaxy Note by itself. It definitely makes a difference when you can see how it compares to the Lumia and other similar phones.

joset01
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joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:21 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


True for now, but devices like the Galaxy Note II will start to blur that boundary between tablet and smartphone.

joset01
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joset01,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:20 AM
re: Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter


Yeah, and in a simplistic fashion, a bigger screen means more data down. Of course, carriers can get clever with compression, in fact they will need to, I suspect, in 2013 and beyond.

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