Surprise: Report says smartphone users consume more data than tablet users

January 15, 2013

The analysis by Arieso, a provider of location-aware solutions for mobile network operators, found that smartphone users now consistently consume more mobile data than tablet users. This is the first time smartphones eclipsed tablets in the three years Arieso has done the study which analyzes billions of mobile connections using the firm’s ariesoGEO software.

Mobile data consumption overall is skyrocketing on both smartphones and tablets, but the study suggests “extreme users” are making more use of high speed LTE networks available on the latest smartphones. LTE is available to tablet users, but a big percentage of tablet users have WiFi only connectivity.

Two noteworthy findings in the report:

  • iPhone 5 users are the “hungriest” data consumers, demanding 50% more than iPhone 4S users and four times as much as iPhone 3G users
  • 40% of all data is consumed by 1% of users

Out of the top ten most voracious devices (excluding dongles) six were smartphones, three tablets and one a ‘phablet’. Tablet users placed 4th, 8th and 9th.

“This is pretty counterintuitive, but it seems the capabilities of the newest smartphones – not tablets – are unleashing even greater user demand. Once you move away from raw consumption statistics, the most remarkable finding is the way in which people use smartphones and tablets,” said the study’s author, Dr. Michael Flanagan, CTO at Arieso.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 trumps iPad

As for consumption among tablet users, the study found that Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 users demand 20% more data than iPad users.

The smartphone rankings found that iPhone 5 users demand four times as much data as iPhone 3G users and 50% more than iPhone 4S users (the most demanding in the 2012 study).

However, Samsung Galaxy S III users generate (upload rather than download – photos, videos etc.) nearly four times the amount of data than iPhone 3G users, pushing iPhone 5 users into third place on uplink data usage behind the Samsung Galaxy Note II. 

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