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5G Mobile Users Gobble up to 2.7 Times More Data Than 4G

Friday, Jun 25th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 2,352
5g mast on smartphone uk mobile

Opensignal, which uses crowd-sourced data to benchmark mobile networks, has found that 5G connected users in 20 of the leading markets for the new mobile broadband tech see much greater mobile data usage than 4G users. The biggest increase was in Japan (2.7x), while the UK scores 2.0x and Ireland came last on 1.2x.

The report is based off data that was gathered from many hundreds of millions of devices (Android and iOS Smartphones running the Opensignal App etc.) between 1st January and 31st March 2021. In all but two of the twenty listed markets, 5G users consume more than 10GB (GigaBytes) of data a month.

NOTE: Between the first quarter of 2020 and the same quarter in 2021 there was an average increase in monthly mobile data (3G, 4G, 5G etc.) usage of 1.3GB per smartphone user (17.2%) across the 65 markets Opensignal analysed, although it’s slightly lower than the 2.1 GB increase in the previous year.

opensignal 5g data usage 2021

Faster broadband speeds have historically always been linked with rising data consumption, so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Part of the reason is that a faster connection will often result in better quality services or content, which consume more data (e.g. streaming a video in 4K rather than HD etc.). You also complete tasks (e.g. downloads) more quickly, which leaves spaces for extra tasks to be run.

Equally, a lot of people will be finding that 5G can make for a good home broadband replacement, especially if FTTP isn’t an option. Except home broadband connections are much bigger data hogs, thus those making such usage will often place greater demands on their mobile network. But interestingly, congestion has not been the usual result.

To date, 5G is severing the link between high mobile data traffic and network congestion. The markets for 5G data consumption also top Opensignal’s 5G global experience benchmarks. In effect, 5G users are able to enjoy both much faster download speeds and consume much more data. Historically, where mobile users consumed large amounts of data it causes network congestion which depresses speeds, but for 5G users we see no indication of slowdowns in markets with high 5G data consumption,” said Opensignal.

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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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5 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Bubbles says:

    Then theres me in which three says my average data usage (on 4G I might add) is 50GB and my highest is 110GB

  2. Avatar photo Gary says:

    I’s not just that 5G provokes higher data use is it really ? Chances are high consumption users are also likely the ones drawn to the faster newer tech. simply moving their high use from 4G to 5G.

  3. Avatar photo Lexx says:

    As the 5g has higher available speeds it allows youtube and other streaming sites to automatically use higher image quality bitrate

    also higher data usage may be related to YouTube recently allowing 1440p/4k on 1080p phones, where 5g is available the phone will automatically use 1440p and 4k {2160} witch has significantly more bandwidth requirement that 4g can’t always provide

    Most people won’t be aware of what the streaming service is using a lot more data or even notice the image quality has got better

  4. Avatar photo Mike says:

    More trash adverts eat =more data allowance used
    Many do not know of a way to get rid of ads
    4k is in use and that wants more lanes of motorway 5g gives more so it takes more
    4g was around 47Mbps
    4n g/fake 5g 200Mbps
    5g 600Mbps or more as is not stable yet

  5. Avatar photo Sam says:

    With a faster connection you can simply do more.

    Not only that, if you’re watching Youtube videos and the service recognises that you have a fast connection, it’ll ramp the quality up thus using more data.
    It’s not only Youtube that works like this too.

Comments are closed

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