iPhone 4S doubles data usage: study

06 Jan 2012

ITEM: iPhone 4S users are downloading twice as much data as iPhone 4 users, and almost three times as much data as iPhone 3G users, according to new research.

While it’s a well-known conceit that smartphones are driving up data usage in mobile networks, and that this trend isn’t going to taper off anytime soon, a new study from Arieso claims that smartphone data consumption is “accelerating beyond expectations”.

The Europe-focused study cites the iPhone 4S as a significant catalyst in smartphone consumer behavior between 2010 and 2011. Only a few months since the latest iPhone model’s release, 4S users currently download 2.76 times as much data as users of the iPhone 3G.

That said, it’s not just 4S users – the study also says Samsung Galaxy S users are downloading 2x the data that iPhone 3G users were downloading a year ago.

That’s just the downlink traffic. According to Arieso, HTC Desire S users typically upload 3.23 times as much data as iPhone 3G users, with iPhone 4S users uploading almost as much (3.20x)

In terms of data calls per user, HTC Google Nexus One users are making 2.2 times as many as iPhone 3G users, while owners of the HTC Desire and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10i make s1.5 times as many data calls.

All of which is just the tip of the iceberg – the study also reports that 1% of subscribers now consume half of all downloaded data.

The results indicate that data usage per user grows rapidly with each new and improved generation of smartphone or other mobile device, which will put even more pressure on network capacity than operators may be anticipating, said Arieso CTO and report author Dr. Michael Flanagan.

However, Flanagan added, an equally important message is that cellcos need a better understanding of how different devices are being used and how much downstream and upstream traffic each one generates.

“Despite stark industry warnings, mobile operators are still playing ‘Guess Who?’ with their subscribers,” Flanagan said in a statement.

“Without adequately preparing networks to support the new generation of smart devices, operators risk spiraling and misplaced operational expenditure and delivering a sub-par quality of experience to customers,” he said. “It’s critical that operators redouble their efforts to limit the impact of this inevitable squeeze.”

FULL DISCLOSURE: It’s worth mentioning that Arieso is in the customer centric network management software business.

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