Operators could benefit from deploying sponsored data plans after a new report found US consumers would welcome such tariffs.

The Citrix consumer survey, the first research of its kind to tackle the question of users' interest in sponsored data, found that 71 percent of men and 62 percent of women would be more engaged with the data facilities on their mobile devices if sponsored data plans were available.

The sponsored data model gained widespread attention in January when AT&T announced that it would let customers access certain mobile content free of charge; all costs would be passed on to a sponsoring company.

However, it has been unclear as to how popular the model might be.

Citrix's survey of 1,000 adult smartphone and tablet owners in the US has revealed strong concerns over exceeding data usage quotas on their mobile devices and increasing openness to alternative models.

More than eight in 10 of those surveyed admitted they had avoided using an app for fear that it would jeopardise their data limit, while 72 percent of parents surveyed had in fact exceeded theirs on several occasions.

Amongst those questioned, although younger consumers expressed more concern, it was older users who more frequently went over their limits.

Younger users turned out to be more open to the idea, with 78 percent of millennials expressing an interest compared to 52 percent of baby boomers.

In line with the results that show they are more likely to exceed their limits, parents displayed more enthusiasm for sponsored plans than did non-parents.

Of the top-rated activities that consumers were more likely to undertake, if they were not being charged for data use, accessing bank accounts, watching educational videos and watching advertisements were in the top three. 

Chris Koopmans, VP and GM of Service Provider Platforms at Citrix, commented: “Sponsored data plans are one way in which content providers can engage with their target audience.

“This research is a first in terms of assessing the subscriber’s desire to receive these plans. Subscribers are demanding more data, more of the time, but specifically how they wish to use the data is changing."

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Sponsored data models likely to proliferate in Europe

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