Mobile subscribers in markets around the world are willing to pay for greater flexibility in mixing and matching their own choice of a wide range of services – such as email, web browsing, social networking, multi-user gaming, sports/news/video and VoIP – to create personalized service bundles, according to a just-released consumer research report conducted by Signals Research Group for mobile telecom software developer Tekelec.

Questioned regarding their pricing model preferences, nearly 3,500 mobile subscribers said they preferred pricing models based on usage and specific applications over those based on bandwidth/performance, family sharing/bundling of devices, casual usage, or free access with advertising, according to Tekelec/Signals’, “Mobile Broadband Pricing and Bundling – the Voice of the Consumer,” report. Respondents were from a mix of countries including Brazil, India, South Korea, the U.K. and U.S.

The survey results reveal opportunities for mobile telecom service providers to generate incremental revenues by selling custom-tailored services “to customers whose devices are capable but not yet part of a mobile data plan,” according to Tekelec’s press release.

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“Understanding demographic differences, device ownership, and existing service experience indicators will help service providers understand customers – what engages them, what disenchants them, what moves and inspires them – not only as individuals, but also as members of communities and groups in an increasingly mobile and social-media-oriented world,” commented Houck Reed, Tekelec vice president, product management and marketing.

Among the report’s key takeaways:

  • Usage-Based Pricing and Paying for Specific Applications are the preferred pricing concepts on a global basis.
  • Family Sharing is the preferred pricing model in South Korea and comes in second out of seven in the United States.
  • Free Access ranked very differently country by country, providing an indicator of which countries might be more amenable to mobile advertising and subsidized free access than others. For example, 86% of respondents in Brazil expressed interest in Free Access as a pricing concept.
  • Security (Remote Lock/Remote Wipe), Web Browsing, and Email stand out as the preferred services on a global basis.
  • Brazil, India, and South Korea prefer consumer/entertainment-oriented services like VoIP and Video, while the United Kingdom and the United States prefer productivity-oriented services like Web Browsing and Email.
  • In all countries surveyed, respondents strongly preferred a bundle of multiple services (two or three or four of their choosing) to any single service.
  • While they don’t need to have an infinite selection, customers want some choice and variety, because they want to use their mobile device for more than one application.

The researchers also found “important correlations among data,” including:

  • Hotspot usage is an indicator that subscribers allocate mobile data spend to Wi-Fi, which can be a red flag for new business opportunity.
  • Respondents who do not currently use mobile broadband with a tablet or laptop, but who do pay for hotspot connectivity represent a viable untapped market.
  • Enthusiasts who pay for hotspot access spend $104 per year on hotspots vs. $76 per year for Non-Enthusiasts (Interestingly, there are a significant number of people who spend more than $500/year on hotspots in Brazil, whereas in the U.K., the majority don’t spend a penny on hotspots).

Image courtesy of flickr user Sean MacEntee.

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