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Study: Just 0.1 percent of mobile users consume 50 percent of all data

We’ve all heard of the 1 percent when it comes to controlling the lion’s share of America’s wealth, but how about the 0.1 percent when it comes to consuming wireless data?

According to a study carried out by network service provider JDSU, just 0.1 percent of 4G subscribers are responsible for half of all data consumed by mobile devices. Perhaps not surprisingly, iPhone and iPad owners lead the way, with the iPhone 5S the #1 data hog at almost 7 times the study’s benchmark device, closely followed by the 4th generation iPad.

Four other Apple devices – the iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPad (3rd generation) and iPhone 4S – make the top 10, along with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S III smartphones. Generally, 4G devices account for 10 times the amount of data consumed by 3G devices.

“Each new generation of iPhone has resulted in increases in data consumption of between 20-40 percent -- even today when data use is common,” said Michael Flanagan, a JDSU executive and author of the report. “The faster the speeds that mobile operators provide, the more consumers swallow it up and demand more.”

Interestingly, smartphones outrank tablets when it comes to data consumption. Only two tablets make the top 10 most data-hungry devices – both iPads – while last year’s hungriest tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, has fallen out of the top 10 altogether.

The study has prompted some debate over how wireless operators will deal with the growing divide between “extreme” data users and everyone else. If 50 percent of data is consumed by just a few thousand customers, then it might not make sense for an individual carrier to develop a universally consistent network, instead allocating additional resources to known data hotspots.

While the tiered data plans adopted by most wireless carriers are not likely to go away anytime soon, it’s possible that the carriers may eventually move to a straightforward metered system favored by the other utilities such as electric, water and gas. That way, everyone pays for exactly the data they consume.

Comment by Gail McHam, posted 1/24/2014, 1:25 PM:

great info!
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