Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans
Forty bucks a month is the right price for carriers offering "all-you-can-eat" unlimited wireless data plans for business or personal use, according to respondents to our recent poll (see Wireless Data: How Much Will You Pay?). However, a sizeable minority says they would pay extra for special content, better quality of service, or faster downloads.
A fixed-rate plan is – unsurprisingly – the preference of 52 percent of our poll takers; almost no one was enticed by the idea of paying by the data packet or the minute. Thirty-seven percent say that $40 a month is the price point they would choose for corporate data plans, while 50 percent say they'd pay $40 a month for personal plans.
However, all is not lost for the carrier looking to squeeze just a leetle more revenue out of early adopters: While most of our respondents love the idea of fixed-rate plans, many are willing to spend a little more to get a little more.
39 percent of people who answered the survey say, "I want a good fixed rate for my standard stuff, but I'd be willing to pay more for special one-off downloads." Of course, it's down to the carriers to decide exactly what constitutes a "special download." Yes, we know what you're thinking, but only 14 percent of the people we surveyed think that "porn hounds" will be the biggest spenders on wireless data services; 70 percent said business users would spend the most.
In fact, 41 percent reckon that businesses will pay more for better quality of service. Although if you couple this with the fact that 40 percent of respondents say they'd pay more for faster downloads, that may not be such great news for carriers – it suggests that people are after faster, better services than they're actually being given today.
"Email" was the overwhelming answer (56 percent) when we asked just what people wanted to download using a wireless service. Meanwhile, 36 percent said that Web pages are what they would download most. Surprisingly, no one was particularly enamored by the idea of being able to use instant messaging or SMS text messaging on their phones – even though messaging applications have proved to be the real breadwinners for wireless data services so far.
Anyway, 47 percent of our respondents say carriers have only got a couple of years to exploit the early adopters of wireless data services. They reckon the entire market will be commoditized by 2005.
Don't forget to have your say in our latest poll, which poses the eternal question: Does anyone really care about Bluetooth? (See Bluetooth: Necessity or Luxury?)
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung