New research by giffgaff has revealed that a high proportion of mobile phone customers place data allowance as a top priority when seeking out a new mobile deal. The humble text message is now being out-shone by mobile applications and handsets that are changing how we communicate, mainly in the form of BBM, iMessage, Facebook messaging, Whatsapp and Skype. Indeed, texts sent via apps overtook SMS messages by 1.4 billion in 2012 (Informa).
From more than 10,000 giffgaff community members who took part in this survey-based research, 17% said that they now feel more swayed by data allowance than anything else when comparing phone deals - influenced by this change in mobile communication.
giffgaff, who specialise in SIM-only deals and mobile bundles, have assessed how savvy and adept their community members are at navigating the mobile landscape. The survey did not just shed light on the current sentiment towards mobile contracts but it more importantly highlighted a few misperceptions still knocking around the mobile world. Primarily, that being on a contract is still gleaned as the smartest way to go mobile.
Au contraire. Historically, the amount of mobile contracts taken out in the UK has almost doubled from 25% to 41% since 2006, while the amount of pay-as-you users has dropped to 40% from 45%. This is because contracts have become synonymous with 'upgrades' which simply equates to a new handset. A massive 59% of mobile users choose to go on a contract for the latest technology. However, taking out a short term loan and buying your handset up front can, for example, save Apple lovers £150 on the latest iPhone. Similarly, 45% of mobile users are unaware that contract prices can rise during their tariff.
The popularity of social mobile apps like Facebook and Whatsapp has meant that mobile users are cautious about the amount of mobile data they consume, with many misjudging the amount: 67% of respondents said they got through 250MB of mobile data a month. However, giffgaff can reveal that only 33% of mobile users use more than 250MB per month. Commenting on the need for users to regularly check their data allowance and monthly usage, Mark Entwistle, Product Manager at giffgaff, said today:
"Data usage is notoriously difficult to keep track of and this can put people at risk of selecting the wrong allowance for them, which can prove costly. To make sure you don't fall into this trap, it's worth regularly checking any usage information that your network makes available to you or if you prefer then you can carry out your own data usage 'health check' by using smartphone apps like Onavo. At giffgaff, members can access this information online 24/7, but they also have the option of receiving a monthly statement, including a recommended mobile plan which is based on their usage."
Perception problems aside, many mobile users are unhappy with current contract offerings, citing their length and outdated handsets as the main gripes. Apple are one of the main culprits, with the possibility of an iPhone 5s just nine months after the iPhone 5 release leaving those under a long-term contract feeling cheated.
With mobile users becoming more interested in mobile tariffs that offer greater data allowance, giffgaff advise to look beyond the contract and consider pay-as-you-go. For just £12, giffgaff offer an unlimited data tariff, which offers users round the clock data usage, as well as many other data heavy bundles. Extend your mobile conversation by becoming as smart as your Smartphone and join the giffgaff community to take part in the 'Pay Back' scheme that rewards community-focused advice by giving users money off their tariffs.