Nielsen‘s latest mobile survey revealed what the continued adoption of smartphones has led to: increased data usage. Now, this isn’t really surprising news, but what IS surprising is something you can see from the chart on the right; we aren’t using as much data as we think we do.
Or are we?
According to the survey (which basically represents just the US, but is probably applicable worldwide), the highest data usage is by Android Users, followed by iOS users. The average Android user typically consumes about 582 MB of data a month, while iOS users use 492 MB. You can see the steady decline of Windows Mobile, while Windows Phone 7 usage doubled in no time (and it’s only get bigger).
Now, Nielsen compares the increase in data usage to the decrease in the cost of data, and that showed that data usage doubled over the last year, while the data cost remained the same, which means the cost per MB was half what it was last year.
Again, that makes sense. Paying less for more is always better. But the results of this definitely seem to support what Mobile Operators have been saying all along: we don’t use much data, therefore, tiered data plans make sense.
Unlimited data plans have been going the way of the Dinosaur, with most operators worldwide offering plans that top off at 2GB/month. Now that may seem to be a lot. Unless you’re a frequent user. Nielsen’s results show that the 99th percentile of users increased their data usage by 155% over the period of one year, from 1.8GB to 4.6GB.
Now, these frequent users could be people who use tether their phones to other devices, using it as a hotspot. OR, they’re users who do a lot more, say, while commuting. Probably watch videos on youtube, stream music from the plethora of streaming apps there are, like Pandora, Rdio, etc. But consider this. Attached below, is my usage over the last two weeks. And apart from one day, where I was using my phone tethered to my laptop, the rest were just your usual, run of the mill days. No streaming music or videos. Just Pulse, Feedly and a couple of other apps for news and feeds, Sync on for email, twitter, facebook. A little Whatsapp and GTalk usage. And that ended up being a lot of data used.
And data usage is just going to increase exponentially, once services like Google Music, Amazon Music and Apple’s iCloud become public. And oh yeah, there’s Sony’s unlimited music services (formerly known as Qriocity). So now, you’re encouraged to take your music online. And stream it back to your device/devices. Now that’s a brilliant idea: you don’t need to worry about transferring new music each and every time. You aren’t constrained by the storage limitations on your device.
There are downsides though. Got no network? Too bad. But worse than that, is how much data you’d consume. And this is just the beginning. Now imagine that, and multiply that data usage a few times. That’s probably what’s going to happen when you start streaming TV Series and Movies to your device. Netflix & Google Movies do that already. And people will soon start using them a lot more. Still happy with your Providers decision to cap your data usage?
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