07/31/2014 04:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Verizon Wins With Data

Data Plan Strategies Help Verizon Beat Other Carriers

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released analysis of the results from its research on mobile phone carriers for the calendar quarter that ended June 30, 2014. This analysis features findings about consumer trends in mobile phone activations from April-June 2014, and is based on its survey of US subjects that activated a new or used mobile phone in that three-month period.

CIRP finds that Verizon has taken the lead in monetizing mobile data. While all carriers mostly offer unlimited text messages, and have liberalized the available voice minutes, Verizon has the most lucrative mobile data strategy.

Verizon has the largest proportion of its customers on shared data plans (Chart 1). Sprint has almost the same proportion, with AT&T and T-Mobile following.

Chart 1: Customers with Shared Data Plans

Verizon also has the smallest proportion of customers with unlimited data plans, with only 22% (Table 1). On average, 46% of all customers have unlimited data plans, with AT&T the next smallest at 44%. Sprint and T-Mobile have adopted an opposite strategy, offering unlimited data as a competitive response, and each has 78% of its customers on those unlimited plans.

Table 1: Monthly Data Plans by Carrier

Verizon has succeeded in getting the most out of its smartphone customers. Not only do more of their customers use Verizon data on additional devices, with limited data plans, their customers also pay for their actual data usage.

Data usage helps Verizon to generate the largest average monthly customer bills among the major carriers. 51% of Verizon customers report paying over $100 per month, compared to an average of 42% for all carriers. 14% of customers report paying over $200 per month, compared to an average of 7% for all carriers.

Table 2: Average Customer Monthly Bill by Mobile Carrier

As customers shift their mobile use to data, and away from voice and even text messages, carriers continue to find ways to address the changes profitably. Verizon has done better than its competitors in charging customers for their increased data use, and it shows in customers' reported monthly bills.

CIRP bases its findings on a survey of 500 US subjects, from July 1-11, 2014, that activated a new or used phone in the April-June 2014 period.

For additional information, please contact CIRP.