January 25, 2013
For the first time, smartphone users consistently consume more mobile data than those using tablets, according to mobile analysis provider Arieso. Of those users, iPhone 5 owners are the “hungriest,” calling for up to 50 percent more data than the iPhone 4S user and four times as much as the iPhone 3G user. In an interesting statistic, Arieso reveals that 40 percent of all data is consumed by just 1 percent of mobile users.
“This is pretty counter-intuitive, but it seems the capabilities of the newest smartphones — not tablets — are unleashing even greater user demand,” said Dr. Michael Flanagan, study author and Arieso CTO.
The upsurge in data use, from both smartphone and tablet users, puts strain on existence mobile networks.
“The region we studied this year has recently launched LTE, and we’re already seeing extreme users — especially those with dongles — starting to flock to 4G,” noted Flanagan. “In many respects, this is great news — LTE networks are doing their job. But the consumption levels and patterns of LTE use are very different to what operators could expect from 3G.”
In total, Arieso studied data usage on 125 devices. The iPhone was at the top, but for the first time in three years, it was challenged by the Samsung Galaxy S III. Users of the Samsung device generate “nearly four times the amount of data than iPhone 3G users… and in the rapidly growing tablet market, Samsung Tab 2 10.1 users have asserted their dominance — demanding 20 percent more data than iPad users,” according to Arieso.
When considering the growing challenges that operators have to deal with, it’s important to remember two points, according to Flanagan: “One, that these challenges only result from our industry’s incredible success in creating devices, services and networks that billions of people want to use every hour of every day. Two, that these puzzles are surmountable through careful attention to the needs of subscribers where they demand services from the network.”