Data-Use Study Results Put More Pressure on Mobile Operators

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Smartphone users are consuming more mobile data than tablet users. So says Arieso in new analysis that shows the latest trends in mobile data usage.

Although there has been a high demand for tablets, smartphone users are consistently consuming more data than tablet users for the first time since iPads and other slates have become part of the public lexicon, the provider of customer-centric, location aware solutions said.

“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, Dr. Michael Flanagan.

Of the top 10 most "data-hungry" devices six were smartphones, three were tablets and one a "phablet" – a voice-capable tablet.

“This is pretty counterintuitive, but it seems the capabilities of the newest smartphones – not tablets – are unleashing even greater user demand," Flanagan added. "Once you move away from raw consumption statistics, the most remarkable finding is the way in which people use smartphones and tablets. 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."

Out of the 125 devices studied, iPhone 5 users consume the most data and demanded 50 percent more than iPhone 4S users and four times as much as iPhone 3G users, while Samsung Galaxy S III users generate nearly four times the amount of data than iPhone 3G users. Samsung Tab 2 10.1 users also demand 20 percent more data than iPad users.

The emergence of LTE has also had an influence on data consumption. LTE introduces much-needed bandwidth and relieves pressure on UMTS networks; however, operators cannot relax their focus on network planning, optimization and performance, Arieso said.

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