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Arieso Claim 0.1% of 4G Mobile Broadband Users Gobble Half of All Data

Friday, Jan 24th, 2014 (8:17 am) - Score 520
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Analysts working at Arieso have warned of an “explosive growth in mobile data usage“, fuelled by the latest generation of LTE based Mobile Broadband services, where just 0.1% of 4G customers were found to be “data hogs” that consume more than 50% of all downlink data (globally). iPhone5s owners were also named as the hungriest for data.

By comparison 1% of consumers on the older 3G platform were similarly found to gobble half of all downlink data and this figure has remained fairly steady for the past 3 years, which is despite many of those users having since swapped to newer 4G networks.

The study also found that iPhone 5s users demand 7 times as much data as the benchmark iPhone 3G users do in developed markets (20% increase on iPhone 5) and 20 times as much data in developing markets (50% increase on iPhone 5). Beyond the 5s, Apple products account for six of the top ten ‘hungriest handsets’, along with two Samsung products, one HTC and one Sony (Comparison Infographic).

Dr. Michael Flanagan, Author of the Study, said:

For the past three years we’ve seen explosive growth in mobile data usage, causing operators to have to wrestle with the challenges their success is creating. The faster the speeds that mobile operators provide, the more consumers swallow it up and demand more.

One would expect a honeymoon period in which early adopters test their toys. But for 4G users to consistently exhibit behaviour 10 times more extreme than 3G users well after launch constitutes a seismic shift in the data landscape. This has important ramifications for future network designs.”

Similarly analysts working at UK mobile operator EE have also predicted that data usage will grow significantly over the next three years and their trend-mapping predicted that this would equate to a 750% increase.

The problem for mobile operators is that data tends to be a more expensive commodity for them than on fixed line networks where “unlimited” plans are now common. On the other hand some operators, such as Three UK, have bucked the trend of capping 4G usage by continuing their “all-you-can-eat” style model (except on their dedicated dongle plans).

Capacity will thus become a key challenge for mobile operators over the next few years because more and more people will expect them to offer a fixed line level of broadband service.

NOTE: This article is referencing data usage on mobile networks, not all networks (e.g. fixed line, satellite etc.).

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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