1 Per Cent of Subscribers Using Half of All Mobile Data

1 per cent of mobile subscribers are now consuming half of all downloaded data, according to a new report from Arieso, which provides customer centric network management software solutions.

The study, Recent Smartphone Trends & the Extreme Data User, compares data usage across a variety of smartphones and connected devices. It finds that iPhone 4S owners are the heaviest data users, downloading three times as much data as iPhone 3G users, and twice as much as iPhone 4 users, who were identified as the most demanding in the 2010 study. In a finding consistent with 2010 results, it also shows that Google Nexus One users make twice as many data calls as iPhone 3G users.

“The introduction of increasingly sophisticated devices, coupled with growing consumer demand, is creating unrelenting pressure on mobile networks,” says Dr. Michael Flanagan, Arieso CTO and author of the study. “The capacity crunch is still a very real threat for mobile operators, and it looks set to only get harder in 2012. The mobile industry needs new investment and new approaches to boost network performance and manage the customer experience.”

The Arieso analysis compares the data consumption of users of the latest smartphones against the iPhone3G as a “normalised benchmark”. The study found that different users and different devices exhibit very different demands on the network.

The most significant change in consumer behaviour between 2010 and 2011 data has been catalysed by the introduction of the iPhone 4S. iPhone 4S users download 2.76 times as much data as users of the iPhone 3G. When it comes to uplink data volumes, the HTC Desire S leads the way, with users typically uploading 3.23 times as much data as iPhone 3G users. The iPhone 4S is in second place, with a typical 3.2 times as much data uploaded. 3G modems beat both handsets, with a figure of 26.54 times the iPhone 3G figure.

Flanagan says the findings demonstrate the importance to operators of understanding the increased consumption each type of smartphone brings. “Despite stark industry warnings, mobile operators are still playing ‘Guess Who?’ with their subscribers,” he says. “Without adequately preparing networks to support the new generation of smart devices, operators risk spiralling and misplaced operational expenditure and delivering a sub-par quality of experience to customers. It’s critical that operators redouble their efforts to limit the impact of this inevitable squeeze.”