Study: Smartphones trump tablets in data consumption

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[/caption] As overall mobile data consumption continues to rocket, driven by new devices and richer content, the study suggested that extreme users are beginning to move to new LTE networks, but there is no let up on existing networks. “Yet again we found that novel usage patterns, new technologies and regional idiosyncrasies are conspiring to make life increasingly difficult for mobile operators trying to meet evolving customer expectations. The ability to conduct detailed analysis such as this is critical in giving operators a rich source of intelligence to help boost network performance and enrich user experience,” said study author and Arieso CTO Michael Flanagan. The research revealed that for the first time, smartphone users are consistently consuming more mobile data than tablet 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,” continued Flanagan. “Regardless of device type and operating system, there is very little variation in the usage ‘signature’ between smartphone users and between tablet users. From this we discover that voice-capable ‘phablets’ – like the Samsung Galaxy Note II – are currently being used like smartphones, not tablets. If you can use it to make a phone call, the ‘phablet’ won’t be much like a tablet at all.” From the 125 devices studied, users of the latest iPhone again proved the most voracious data consumers. But for the first time in three years, this dominance is being challenged. Users of the iPhone 5 demand four times as much data as iPhone 3G users and 50 percent 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, beating iPhone 5 users into third place on uplink data usage behind the Samsung Galaxy Note II. And in the rapidly growing tablet market, Samsung Tab 2 10.1 users have asserted their dominance — demanding 20 percent more data than iPad users. Last year, the study revealed that 1 percent of users consumes 50 percent of the downlink data on 3G/UMTS networks. This year, the hungriest 1 percent consume 40 percent (the hungriest 0.1 percent consume almost 20 percent, the hungriest 10 percent consume 80 percent of the downlink data) as LTE starts to make an impact. “The region we studied this year has recently launched LTE, and we’re already seeing extreme users — especially those with dongles — starting to flock to 4G,” said Flanagan. “In many respects, this is great news — LTE networks are doing their job. But the consumption levels and patterns of LTE use are very different to what operators could expect from 3G. It’s a complex, fluid and increasingly high stakes situation for operators to deal with. Having performance engineering solutions that can reveal the customer experience across multiple technologies is going to be vital to understanding this going forward.” LTE introduces much-needed bandwidth and relieves pressure on UMTS networks, the report said. However, operators cannot relax their focus on network planning, optimization and performance — LTE holds a sting in its tail. “For three years now we’ve seen how greater technical capabilities lead to greater data consumption by consumers. From our own experience helping operators around the world prepare their networks for evolving user demands, we hypothesise that LTE alone won’t ‘solve’ the data problem — it will exacerbate it,” warned Flanagan. ]]>

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