Cheap Data Attracts Data Users

A mobile research company has a new report out saying that US mobile operators’ customer bases show distinct demographics, and accordingly, the degree to which their customers use mobile data and content differs significantly. For instance, Sprint and T-Mobile have high percentages of users between ages 18 and 34, which the firm says correlates to the high data usage on those operators. That’s mildly interesting, but it focuses on the wrong correlation. Data use isn’t high just because they have young users that use a lot of data — it’s high because those carriers are attractive to young users that use a lot of data. Sprint and T-Mobile offer the cheapest data and messaging services of US carriers, and are the cheapest top-tier carriers in general. It follows, then, that those users interested most in data would flock to them. There are a few other places, too, where it feels like the firm is looking at things from the wrong side. It says “only” 10 percent of US mobile users 65 or older had sent a text message during the second quarter, compared to the 37% of all age groups — that’s rather a lot for a group with “very low” interest in mobile data, not to mention arthritic thumbs.

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