New research released on Friday by Nielson shows that average US smartphone data use is up 89 per cent year-on-year, whilst the cost per MB is down 46 per cent. Guy Daniels reports.
According to Nielsen’s monthly analysis of over 65,000 mobile phone bills, smartphone owners – especially those with iPhones and Android devices – are consuming more data than ever before on a per-user basis. Add to this the fact that the number of smartphone users is also increasing (currently at 37 per cent of all mobile subscribers in the US), and you can see why this is adding pressure on carriers.
During the last 12 months, Nielsen has calculated that the amount of data the average smartphone user consumes per month has grown by 89 per cent – from 230MB in Q1 2010 to 435MB in Q1 2011.
Don Kellogg, senior manager for telecom research and insights at Nielsen, gives more analysis:
“A look at the distribution of data consumption is even more shocking: data usage for the top 10 per cent of smartphone users is up 109 per cent while the top 1 per cent has grown their usage by an astonishing 155 per cent from 1.8GB in Q1 2010 to over 4.6GB in Q1 2011.”
He believes that growth in smartphone data usage is being driven by app-friendly operating systems like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. The research appears to support this, as consumers with iPhones and Android smartphones consume the most data – 582MB per month for the average Android owner and 492MB for the average iPhone user.
Also of note, and perhaps surprisingly, Windows Phone 7 users doubled their usage over the past two quarters – from 149MB to 317MB. However, this does come at the expense of the earlier OS Windows Mobile, whose data use is down from 205MB to 174MB this quarter. Contrast this to the performance of under-fire RIM; data use of BlackBerry users has risen from 103MB to just 127MB in the same quarter – and it was only 81MB a year ago
Kellogg adds that with increasing data use comes lower cost per MB:
“Even as data usage has almost doubled, most users are paying around what they did a year ago for data. That translates to a lower cost per unit of data consumed. The amount the average smartphone user pays per unit of data has dropped by nearly 50 per cent in the last year, from 14 cents per megabyte (MB) to a mere 8 cents.”
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Nielson: Data Usage by OS