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Unlimited Mobile Data Plan Users Are Those That Carriers Don't Want to Upset

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

As mo re and more consumers use their smartphones for functions other than voice calls, their data usage has increased and the major service providers have struggled to provide bandwidth for these more sophisticated users. Since 2011, AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless have not offered unlimited data plans to their new subscribers. However, their existing subscribers have been allowed to maintain their unlimited data plans and stream large amounts of data at will.

Now, in 2012, both AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless have announced that existing customers will have to move to limited plans, while T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel still offer unlimited data plans (and have active marketing campaigns promoting this fact.)

In May 2012, iGR surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers about their current use of mobile phones and wireless technologies, and specifically inquired about their data plans.

iGR's research shows that of all subscribers surveyed, 41.3 percent reported having an unlimited data plan. Of the combined subscriber base of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless, 38.7 percent have unlimited data plans. This AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless subscriber base was profiled and tendencies were found in age, income and educational level, among other categories.

"The importance of this client base cannot be overstated -- unlimited mobile data plan users are some of the most valuable subscribers in the industry," said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile industry. "Our research shows that these two carriers need to be very careful to offer a migration plan to replace the grandfathered unlimited plans that provides the data service, value, and recognition that meets these valuable consumers' needs. Now that Apple and Android devices are available from no-contract operators with unlimited plans, AT&T and Verizon Wireless need to tread very carefully."

iGR's new market research report, Profile of Unlimited Mobile Data Users in the U.S.: The people AT&T and VZW need to look after, provides a profile of these AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless subscribers who will soon lose their unlimited data plans.

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Tags: verizon wireless  at&t