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
wonderfull 12/5/2012 | 12:57:02 AM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans With 40 bucks a month, operators can have an excellent balance sheet..still dependent on subs.
In Asia the target is likely 15-30$/month.

Since we are talking about services, is there a product/system (PDSN++/GGSN++/other) that can provide seamless mobility service with CDMA/GPRS and Wi-Fi? Ideally this system can handle WPA, roaming, QoS, billing, etc..
deepciscothroat 12/5/2012 | 12:57:01 AM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans We've got one, but think most of the start-ups placed their bets on either WIFI or 3G
wonderfull 12/5/2012 | 12:56:43 AM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans CW:
>We've got one,
Is this the Cisco PDSN or the 1900 router? Can you point me to the right links?

>but think most of the start-ups >placed their >bets on either WIFI or 3G

Interesting to note that Cisco uses Proxy MIP to provide Wi-Fi link layer mobility. Seems like an interim solution until a 802.11f recommendation.

Or is MIP both the micro and macro mobility solution?

deepciscothroat 12/5/2012 | 12:56:38 AM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans Gotta,
From today's Network Wrld
"On the wireless side, Lucent is considering lining up Cisco to provide IP/MPLS technology. Lucent is dual-sourcing its IP/MPLS capabilities because it views Cisco as a wireline competitor, sources say, while Juniper has a joint development relationship with Lucent competitor Ericsson for Gateway General Packet Radio Service Support Nodes (GGSN) in mobile wireless IP networks."

Regarding your other points

Is this the Cisco PDSN or the 1900 router? Can you point me to the right links?
- 6500-based PDSN

Or is MIP both the micro and macro mobility solution?
- Macro


wonderfull 12/5/2012 | 12:56:18 AM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans CW: 6500-based PDSN

Wow! Is this GA? Can I use DiffServ on this PDSN?

On the topic of QoS,

1. Do any of the1xRTT and GPRS implementations implement QoS?
2. What are the common QoS signalling mechanisms used?
3. Does anyone use RSVP outside MPLS?
4. Was COPS ever used outside universities?


doodah 12/4/2012 | 9:06:05 PM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans Dan:

Where were these polltakers from? The US, Europe or Asia? Mixed? The answer might provide insight into possible significant differences in subscriber payment preferences across the globe.

deepciscothroat 12/4/2012 | 9:06:01 PM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans Dan
what's this mean for the next generation of infrastructure providers. Seems to say, there is little need for monitoring and measuring of new services

joset01 12/4/2012 | 9:06:00 PM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans Oh, well I don't know 'bout that. 40% of folks say they will pay more for faster downloads and better QoS, and isn't a big part of the raison d'etre of some of the new guys? Giving the carriers the ability to create tiered services for people that will pay more for them.

But hey, definitely, the first thing carriers have to concentrate on is getting LOTS of users on these networks, but I don't suppose that precludes from trying to figure out what might be happening one or two years from now.

You know I was thinking about it after I filed the story and I think it will be instructive to repeat this poll about the same time next year. This market is just so young at the moment, I think it'll be interesting to see what people's priorities are at the end of 2003, and how they might have changed. I was surprised that people didn't see IM or some form of messaging as useful, it is about the thing I use most - but maybe that's because it's helpful for my work.

BTW, CW, we're still waiting for the Cisco/Lucent partnership announcement, can't be long now, eh? Oh, and one are you guys going to pick up one of the start-ups? 2003 seeems like the year -- funding running out, no revenues coming in, all that. Tahoe, maybe? Hmmmm?

DJ Unstrung
deepciscothroat 12/4/2012 | 9:05:56 PM
re: Data Users Are Fixed-Rate Fans Ah, let's not focus on rumors, eh?
I think what I would like to stimulate some discussion around is how the infrastructure must evolve to meet the services requirements

IMHO, the lack to traction around differentiated services will mean weakness in the infrastructure market. Flip slide, can the infra guys drive some new services thinking and drive their market

We've been there before, no?

Happy New Year Dan

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