"These results suggest that, while American consumers consider home broadband service to be a vital utility, they see mobile data service as simply a 'nice to have,'" noted David Mercer, Vice-President of the Strategy Analytics Digital Consumer Practice.
I suppose mobile data is a 'nice-to-have' feature (luxury?) for many. For me, and thousands of others, it is vital.
Mobile data is no doubt a significant component to any cell phone bill. Most wireless network operators offer per-kilobyte or per-megabyte pricing on mobile data, which lets you pay only for what you use. If you're not careful, however, you can chew up a lot and wind up with a big bill at the end of the month. This is why choosing a data plan is often the smart move to make. Prices vary carrier to carrier, but expect to pay at least $20 per month for mobile data.
One thing about the study that's not clear is whether or not those polled were using smartphones. Today's smartphones often require a data plan. BlackBerries, for instance, must have BIS service as part of the package. Smartphone users don't have the luxury of dropping the data portion of their service.
Other data gathered by the poll shows that 12% of Americans would drop pay-TV altogether, while 41% indicate they'd scale back their service instead in order to save some green. Fifty-six percent said they'd adjust their home phone line expenditures, with 51% saying they'd do the same with their mobile voice plans.
In the end, mobile data is the big loser here. Many clearly believe it is still a "want" not a "need".