Report: Mobile providers are showing more interest in multi-device data plans

Summary:Research firm Strategy Analytics suggests that mobile operators are looking towards offering multi--device data plans.

Plenty of consumers with multiple mobile devices wish they could share their data plans among their gadgets without having to buy separate 3G/4G subscriptions from mobile carriers. More than likely, most people with both an iPhone and iPad would prefer to have one data plan from AT&T or Verizon Wireless without having to tether or anything like that.

A new report from Strategy Analytics suggests that mobile operators are finally warming up to this concept.

Some of the highlights from the study:

  • 60 percent of smartphone owners want "a single, shared data plan to connect multiple devices" (i.e. tablets, smartphones and laptops)
  • 50 percent of smartphone owners would prefer tethering
  • 40 percent are more interested in buying a 3G mobile hotspot to connect multiple devices

In fact, several major national carriers abroad have already picked up on the fact that this might be a good idea -- at least in the eyes of their customers. That includes Rogers Wireless and Bell Mobility in Canada, Telefonica Movistar in Spain, and Orange Mobistar in Belgium among others.

At this point, if consumers can't afford to pay for data on both mobile phones and tablets, they'll likely just opt to pay for the smartphone data plan rather than forking over money on a monthly basis for yet another contract and bill.

It would seem that wireless providers would make more money if they simply just kept the status quo and continued to charge per device. But there is the potential for more revenue if they offered larger data plans with slightly higher rates that could encompass multi-devices and keep even more of their customers happy.

Related:

Topics: Smartphones, Apple, AT&T, Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets, Telcos

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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