Smartphone carriers are in this business to make money, and when we’re talking maximizing profits, there are two obvious ways to boost income: charging more, or offering less. For some carriers, that “offering less” angle has taken the form of doing away with old unlimited data plans, and favoring tiered offerings, instead; both AT&T and Verizon axed their old unlimited data plans years ago. Now a new survey attempts to show just what kinds of plans current subscribers have with the major US carriers, and it looks like there’s a surprising number of users still clinging to those unlimited deals.
With T-Mobile and Sprint, the 78% of current users on unlimited plans is hardly surprising: both carriers offer such plans to this day. But on Verizon and AT&T, where new subscribers haven’t been able to get unlimited data for three years or more, the numbers are quite high. At Verizon, something like 22% of users are still on old unlimited plans, and at AT&T the share is a shocking 44%.
Does this mean that a large number of subscribers are sticking with their existing carrier out of fear that these unlimited options will go away for good, should they lose their grandfathered account? Is that having a negative effect on competition?
Granted, the survey size of 500 subscribers is a little on the small side, but this data may force us to change how we look at the carriers’ respective user bases. Are any of you readers still rocking a discontinued unlimited data plan? Do you find that your desire to hold onto the plan negatively affects your your relationship with the carrier at all?