Nine Out of 10 Dutch Consumers Do Not Want Unlimited Data

Nine Out of 10 Dutch Consumers Do Not Want Unlimited Data

Over one in ten (11 percent) of Dutch consumers expect their next mobile plan to come with unlimited data, according to a research report. However, the 2–10 GB range remains the most common choice for a data subscription.

Demand for unlimited plans has grown slightly, from 9 percent in the same survey six months ago. In the past year, all three mobile operators in the Netherlands have started offering unlimited data plans, which may have helped increase consumer awareness.

The figures in the most recent study show a continued fall in demand for smaller bundles. Only 4 percent expect their next data plan to include 500 MB per month. Interest in 1–2 GB has also fallen slightly over the past year.

The highest shares were 14 percent for 2–5 GB and 18 percent for 5–10 GB. Larger plans of 10 GB, or more than 10 GB but not unlimited, were the expected choice of 6 percent of subscribers each. Around 13 percent said they do not yet know what their next subscription will be. Men tend to be more interested than women in unlimited data, at 14 percent versus 8 percent. Over twice as many men (9 percent, versus 4 percent of women) also said they would take a plan of 10 GB or more next time.

There remain some people who are not interested in a mobile data subscription. Among those without a current data plan, a third do not expect to take one in the coming years. Around 40 percent expect they will, and 7 percent of these expect to subscribe to unlimited data. Among people who already have unlimited data, 69 percent expect to keep the subscription. Most consumers with 5–10 GB per month also expect to stick to the current range, at 59 percent of the total.

Tarifica’s Take

Amid all the aggressive promotional offers of “unlimited” data (either real or nominal), it is a good idea to read surveys such as this one from time to time, as a reminder that most users, even in highly developed and affluent markets like that of the Netherlands, do not actually want unlimited data.

According to the report, almost 90 percent of Dutch mobile consumers do not intend to get unlimited data with their next plan. That is a very significant number. The 2–10 GB per month range is very much the plurality, with 32 percent of the respondents. The fact that the smallest packages, consisting of less than 2 GB a month, showed a decline in popularity can be attributed to the need for a certain minimum of data in order to run the numerous data-hungry apps that form a part of normal digital life today. But  2–10 GB a month remains a sweet spot—enough data to be citizens of the mobile data world, but not so much as to be too costly or vastly exceed necessity. As for the percentage who want unlimited plans, that figure grew only very slightly in the past half year.

It is also interesting to note that while technologies are changing—notably the advent of 5G—most users surveyed do not foresee making much of a change in their data usage, with 59 percent of those in the 5–10 GB range planning to stick with that level of allowance and 69 percent of those with unlimited intending to keep those subscriptions. Habit is an extremely important driver of consumer behavior, and this inertia belies the common assumption that users of mobile data will inevitably desire more. In short, while every market is different, there are reasons to believe that offers of unlimited data may be less persuasive than many operators assume.