U.S. iPhone Owners Have Most Expensive Monthly Wireless Bills

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iPhone users pay more on average for their monthly wireless data plans than those of any other phone platform, according to new research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), provided Wednesday by AllThingsD. The iPhone also has the highest retention rate among both smartphones and basic “feature” phones.

The survey of U.S. consumers asked respondents which phone platform they currently use, and what their monthly plan cost, including multi-phone plans. Only 6 percent of iOS users spend under $50 per month for wireless service, with 36 percent spending between $51 and $100 per month, 49 percent spending $101 to $200, and 10 percent spending over $200 per month.

Altogether, about 60 percent of iPhone owners spend more than $100 per month on their wireless service, compared to 56 percent of Windows Phone users, 53 percent of Android users, 41 percent of “basic” phone users, and 40 percent of Blackberry users.

Average Monthly Carrier Bill iPhone

CIRP co-founder Michael Levin offered AllThingsD a theory on the results of the study:

We think it has to do with [iOS users’] data plans and carriers, rather than their usage habits. They are all on expensive data plans, unlike Android users, some of which are on prepaid or unsubsidized plans with regional carriers.

Despite the premium paid by iPhone owners for wireless service, carriers are not necessarily making more money due to Apple’s demand for large subsidies on the device, as explained by CIRP’s Josh Levitz:

With the exception of perhaps the hottest Android phones, we think the subsidies on Android phones are lower, so the carriers make more money even with slightly lower per subscriber revenue.

The U.S. mobile phone market may soon change dramatically, however. Carrier T-Mobile is pioneering a plan to eliminate device subsidies in favor of lower monthly payments and contract-free options. With reports that Verizon and AT&T are interested in following T-Mobile’s strategy, monthly plan costs for users of all mobile phones could see significant reductions in the near future.

The survey also asked users about their previous phones, and found that iOS has the highest retention rate, with 88% of current iPhone owners upgrading from a previous iOS device. Only 64% of current Android users stuck with that platform. In disappointing news for RIM and Microsoft, only 7 percent of Blackberry users upgraded from a previous Blackberry device and 9 percent of Windows Phone users came from a previous version of that operating system.



I guess I’m in the 6%. I just switched to T-Mobile’s $30 prepaid plan.


I’m in the 36% range with AT&T. I wonder about the actual earnings from iPhone customers. I know people who are using hand-me-down iPhone 4 models and folks who could have long ago upgraded but didn’t because their 3GS or 4 still gets the job done and they don’t want to spend an additional $200.

But I suppose there are a lot more new subscribers that skew the numbers south. I wonder what the profitability of account holders over the life of their account is with respect to handset. Those may be tough numbers to crunch given that most of the iPhone toting people I know didn’t change providers but did change from Android.

Interesting times…


Another difference to ponder with regard to higher bills here than in Europe.

The U.S. auctions radio spectrum and, as we’ve seen, it is quite pricey. All that money comes from somewhere - cellphone bills. It’s a transfer of money from us to the Government for use of airwaves - I guess some folks would label it as a “tax” but maybe it’s a “use fee”.

So I wonder just how much of our phone bills is payment for spectrum?? With prices in the billions, it has to be substantial. Anyone have any data ??

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