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Average Cellphone Data Usage Is 145.8 MB Per Month

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the mostly-to-imdb-and-wikipedia-during-arguments dept.

Cellphones 107

destinyland writes "For the first time, the majority of cell phones are accessing data services — 53 percent, compared to only 42 percent last year, according to a new study by Validas. And each user downloads an average of 145.8 MB per month (the average was just 96.8 MB per month in 2009). The heaviest users are Verizon smartphone owners, averaging 428 MB per month (338 MB on average for iPhone users). In fact, Verizon users were twice as likely as iPhone users to exceed both 500 MB and 2 GB each month."

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It just goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33095540)

This just supports my frustrations towards AT&T

Re:It just goes on (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095754)

It's the natural result of allowing for an informal cartel to form. Sort of like how around here you can't get DSL that's actually reasonable in terms of latency, bandwidth and price. Since Qwest owns the last mile the investment in that part of the infrastructure seems to be pretty much non-existent requiring them to add 32m for that first hop for error correction. Comcast was even worse last I checked. And while people seem to really like Sonic where it's available, we can't choose them here because they don't have the ability to sell it here.

Likewise, none of the cell phone providers here are particularly great. AT&T being pretty unreliable and seeming to express no interest in upgrading capacity.

Not suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33095558)

that Verizon outpaces AT&T in this stat. I think the theoretical limit for downloading data from AT&T's network asymptotes at 200 MB/month.

Re:Not suprising (0, Troll)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096584)

AT&T has faster average download and upload speeds than Verizon - stop spreading misinformation. citation: http://www.pcworld.com/article/189592/atandt_roars_back_in_pcworlds_second_3g_wireless_performance_test.html [pcworld.com]

Re:Not suprising (1)

drijen (919269) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096922)

PC World is to accuracy as Microsoft is security. Abort? Fail? Retry?

Re:Not suprising (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097148)

So they do a test that shows AT&T sucks bigtime, then huge AT&T adds show up all over their magazines and 2 months later suddenly AT&T kicks everyone ass everywhere? Really? Are you sure?

Standard deviation (3, Informative)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095560)

I clicked on the article and couldn't find any mention of standard deviation. Knowing the standard deviation would make statistics like this far more interesting and meaningful.

Re:Standard deviation (3, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095580)

Presumably they're withholding that information in the actual study which will be released in September.

Re:Standard deviation (3, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095724)

I clicked on the article and couldn't find any mention of standard deviation. Knowing the standard deviation would make statistics like this far more interesting and meaningful.

Knowing the distribution might be more helpful. I would intuitively expect this to be exponentially distributed, at which point knowing the standard deviation is actually pointless (one would expect it to approximately equal the mean).

Re:Standard deviation (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099628)

Just out of curiosity, did you happen to read Again's sig?

We need a -1 doesn't know how to use quote tags moderation.

Re:Standard deviation (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33100034)

Just out of curiosity, did you happen to read Again's sig?

No. I browse with sigs turned off. I also intentionally don't use quote tags, as I don't like the formatting of them.

Re:Standard deviation (2, Interesting)

camperslo (704715) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095974)

Perhaps there are other factors that account for the differences?

How much do Verizon users tether?

Re:Standard deviation (2, Informative)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096054)

Knowing the standard deviation would make statistics like this far more interesting and meaningful.

Only if it is normally distributed, which is very unlikely.

Re:Standard deviation (2, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099588)

You can probably assume plenty of deviation; with my smartphone's link with the company Zimbra collaboration server, my monthly average is around 7 GB per month. Strangely, watching a movie or two on my phone in an airport doesn't seem to make any noticeable difference in my actual usage.

Re:Standard deviation (1)

Omniscient Lurker (1504701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102912)

Does your phone default to the usually free and open wifi in airports?

Just over-the-air data counted... (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095570)

This survey only covers billed 2G/3G data. As an iPhone owner, I know the data I user per month on AT&T networks has declined recently as AT&T wi-fi hotspots seem to be proliferating everywhere. From Panera to McDonalds, it seems like most lunch spots have free wi-fi, and my home and work certainly does. I don't know how good Verizon's phones are at dealing with wi-fi, or whether they include 802.11b/g/n like the iPhone. In addition, as apps are often more efficient than sites at communicating over the network, some of the reduction is almost certainly due to "there's an app for that" reduction.

In short, I really don't think the MB/month over 2G/3G is necessarily indicative of how much internet is used on a phone anymore.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (2, Insightful)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095604)

Good point! As an iphone user, I often use wifi and AT&T does have a great wifi network. The iphone connects automatically to AT&t wifi networks so it's transparent to to user! AT&T wifi is free for iphone users! I think that need to be counted in the data usage, as it is part of the data plan.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (3, Informative)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097710)

Good point! As an iphone user, I often use wifi and AT&T does have a great wifi network. The iphone connects automatically to AT&t wifi networks so it's transparent to to user! AT&T wifi is "free" for iphone users! I think that need to be counted in the data usage, as it is part of the data plan.

(quotations added)

Hey, guess what!

My Motorola Droid also talks to AT&T hotspots*! Should we also include my AT&T Wifi data usage, even though I don't have an iPhone or AT&T phone service?

Of course not! It's cellular data usage that is being discussed, not overall data usage!

*: As a Uverse customer, I get "free" access to AT&T's Wifi network when I'm out and about.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33095636)

Well obviously, but no-one cares about data use over WiFi. The only interest these articles have to anyone is all the complaints about smartphones bringing 3g networks to their knees, and who is a 'bigger pig,' iPhone users or Android users, and 3g data caps, and so on.

No one cares about total data usage, because there's no reason to care.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33095670)

Push notifications may explain the difference too. Android allows background apps and as far as I know does not conslidate traffic into a single push notification server. Apple said thay did this to keep appls from polling servers constantly and thus needing to stay resident and running. This cuts down backgorund traffic and ups battery life.

if real foreground app usage is being offloaded onto wi-fi rather than cell data transfer then this will make the fraction that is background app traffic higher since presumably when the phone is in our pocket you are not likely connected to a wi fi but are using cell minutes.

Or it could be that the droid users are still downloading Fart apps that the ipone users already have.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095920)

Or it could be a result of the iPhone having an app for just about every online service. These apps can transfer a minimal amount of data as the interface is already stored on the device. Android users, on the other hand, have to visit the service's website which requires them to download the app's data and interface on every request.

Verizon TV (2, Informative)

meehawl (73285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096270)

No, it's the popularity of "V-Cast", Verizon's mobile streaming T services. Verizon and Sprint push a huge quantity of data to their smartphone and featurephone users as plain old TV.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (2, Informative)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096696)

's funny, my android device has plenty of apps for that as well. Yelp, movies, etc.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095708)

To bolster your point, I use about twice the data via WiFi than over the EDMA/3G connection that IO am billed for.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (2, Insightful)

tronbradia (961235) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095854)

I'm on TMo and my plan is unlimited. I never switch on my Wifi card, ever. I don't observe any speed difference when I do, and I have no financial incentive. I bet Verizon is the same way. I should mention I live in NYC where 'free wifi' is pretty much unheard of anywhere where you would actually want to use it.

It sounds to me like what you're actually saying is that AT&T's plans and network are so crappy you don't even use them.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (2, Informative)

binarybum (468664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096134)

exactly. I would use data much more often on my iphone if it actually worked anywhere. instead I find myself looking over the shoulders of my colleagues surfing the net at conferences on their verizon droids while my iphone sits there looking at me reading 'no signal'.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (1)

Witmar (1844282) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095992)

Over the Air Data is all that really matter when comparing wireless providers. Wifi is nice as it unburdens the carriers network, but this report is how much network bandwidth each carrier can handle on average per month.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096122)

I think you're on to something. It's only been recently that VZW phones have started to get integrated Wi-Fi. For example, the Blackberry Curve 8330 didn't have Wi-Fi capability at all, so there was no means of offloading traffic. Verizon traditionally prevented handsets from having Wi-Fi capabilities up until fairly recently. Personally, I probably *would* have been using Wi-Fi more often when I had a Curve if it was available. I think the answer is going to change whether the statistics are taken at the handset level, not at the network level. Handset level stats will display what users are actually doing, while network level stats could show that VZW customers may simply spit more data out of their baseband than AT&T customers.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096176)

well free wifi isnt really something to give credit to at&t mcdonalds ended there pay program. i can get on it on my psp or my phone of any type that supports wifi. i convinced a local pc shop hear that used to use there wifi for lan party's to put up a huge wifi rig to cover pretty mutch all of the downtown city aera with free wifi. so its just a mater of hotspots becoming more and more common. i let my bankrupt nabors kid use my wifi even thow i have it wpa2 encrypted. being she asked. so its just a matter of wifi being a more common connection means then anything a cell phone company does.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096600)

It's also worth nothing that many Android users leave there WIFI off b/c Android doesn't power down the Wifi antenna when it isn't being used. The iPhone, on the other hand, is very aggressive about power saving with both 3G and Wifi. The end result is iPhone users take advantage of nearby Wifi networks more often than Android users.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097304)

It's also worth nothing that many Android users leave there WIFI off b/c Android doesn't power down the Wifi antenna when it isn't being used.

Where did you get that information from? It sounds pretty questionable. According to Google, using wifi is better for your battery because the antenna isn't on as long for data transfers.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (2)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097438)

Wifi uses less battery power when you're actually sending data. The problem comes when you leave wifi on and you aren't in range of a wifi station (say, driving around or in a place without wifi) the phone keeps trying to look and search for wifi connections, and it eats up the battery while doing so. I only turn wifi on when I need a data connection and I know one is available, otherwise it eats the battery (just like being somewhere with little or no signal kills battery with your normal data connection).

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097988)

If they iPhone does things better, how do they figure out when you are in range of a basestation again to turn the WiFi back on? They have to do some sort of periodic polling, just like Android.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098382)

Not true. Android kept turning WiFi off when my phone was idle which pissed me off because it closed my ssh sessions by switching IPs. I had to turn that off. Now it stays on WiFi when available, and switches back to Verizon 3G when I leave home.

Verizon 3G is very fast, but I like WiFi at home because my transparent adblocking proxy hijacks my http requests.

So not sure where you got that Android power management myth from, but it isn't true.

Re:Just over-the-air data counted... (2, Insightful)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097856)

In addition, as apps are often more efficient than sites at communicating over the network, some of the reduction is almost certainly due to "there's an app for that" reduction.

Actually lots of apps will request data refreshes without user intervention, so they probably ultimately use more data than the browser. Android apps are able to do more operations in the background than iPhone apps are, which might explain the fact that Verizon users average more data usage.

so little? (4, Insightful)

simp (25997) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095584)

That's on average less then 5MB per day. If I read a few 400 comment threads on slashdot or fark I already have to download that much html. What are these people doing with their phones?

Re:so little? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095652)

I do nothing even if my phone is able to do so. It is an average, remember?

Re:so little? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33095664)

That's on average less then 5MB per day. If I read a few 400 comment threads on slashdot or fark I already have to download that much html. What are these people doing with their phones?

I think most cell phones can still be used as phones...

Re:so little? (3, Insightful)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095678)

Talking?

Re:so little? (4, Funny)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095884)

Wait, smartphones support voicechat now???

Re:so little? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33100148)

apart from the iPhone 4

Re:so little? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095682)

Maybe you're not representative of a typical user in the broad sense? Slashdot and Fark represent niches, not the general population. Heck, not even I try to read such huge threads, I keep ./ at a level where I only see the top 20 or so posts, even on a desktop computer. I'm not interested in reading page after page on a 3.5" screen.

Re:so little? (3, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095792)

On the other hand, though, I'm continually surprised at just how heavy the average web page seems to be. My phone has a little bandwidth ticker in the corner, and often the front pages for company sites, or the pages for single newspaper articles come in at over 1MB. Switching off images seems to be a thing of the past, so I'd think most users are getting hit with that full page weight.

Re:so little? (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096196)

Not just images!

Take a look at adblock's list of blockable items on some of these sites, the amount of stuff they pull in from different sources is massive.

Re:so little? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099478)

That's what Opera Mini is for.

(and if you tether your laptop, desktop Opera with Turbo enabled)

Re:so little? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095736)

Personally? I tend to use my BB to read email, mostly. Don't even bother to download images normally. A 400 comment in slashdot is pretty huge, on average.

Just looked it on some of my bill - I seem to average just under 30 Meg a month, 1 meg a day. If I can use a computer, I use a computer. I'm not watching youtube videos on it.

Re:so little? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095744)

Email, Skype, Pandora, MLB at Bat streaming of games, apps, it all adds up. I average around 460MB per month on my iPhone. Probably closer to 600 in the summer time since I listen to a lot of day baseball games via MLB at Bat and I stream Pandora in my car driving around.

Re:so little? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095798)

Email, Skype, Pandora, MLB at Bat streaming of games, apps, it all adds up. I average around 460MB per month on my iPhone. Probably closer to 600 in the summer time since I listen to a lot of day baseball games via MLB at Bat and I stream Pandora in my car driving around.

I've put 3-7 gigs of use in each of my first 2 months with my EVO and it doesn't feel like particularly heavy use. Not enough to require a battery recharge between 7 AM and midnight, at least. I guess the free tethering apps make a difference.

Re:so little? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098850)

Well, if you tether, it goes up very high, very fast. That 3-4" screen really does keep your usage down.

Re:so little? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33095776)

My guess is...making phone calls and checking email, saving their heavy browsing for notebooks and desktop PCs.

Re:so little? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096156)

If they do. It will be at home over wi-fi

Re:so little? (1)

Shillo (64681) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095816)

OK, Android user here. Time for some anecdotal evidence - take it with a grain of salt.

Slashdot comments is precisely the kind of webpage that's openly hostile to phone users. Phones, even those with usable browsers, suffer from slow CPUs, lack of RAM, small screens, and inability to JIT Javascript. Slashdot comment pages, on the other hand, are heavy on data, VERY heavy on Javascript, and are formatted with deep indentation that's painful to track on a mobile phone screen.

When I surf from mobile, I read Slashdot frontpage and linked articles (and I use Slashdot basic format even from my desktop). I also read web forums - most of those pages contain lots of text but aren't breaking the mobile browsers. However, most of my stuff is covered by specific clients - Facebook, Twitter and RSS readers are all running outside browsers. As a result, I rarely top 5MB in 1 session.

Re:so little? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33096106)

Not just phones. My eee-pc gives me a warning "the script on this page has ran for a long time, do you want to cancel it?" when I visit Slashdot...

Re:so little? (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095896)

I guess the better question is, "what should we be doing with our phones that we are not?". We all have our own usage patterns. My phone is the Motorola Droid on Verizon. The last couple of months I have used 185 MB and 169 MB. What do I do on it?

Contact sync
Read news
Get movie info (Flixster and IMDB)
Use My Tracks to upload hike info
Some use of Pandora (not a lot)
Google voice (for texting; the calls use phone minutes not data, but the texting uses data)
Google Maps and Places

I'm sure there are more things, but I don't use anything else all that often. So, what do you think I should be using it for?

Re:so little? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096010)

Using WiFi, I presume. I have it at home, I have it at work, I have it at the university, I have it at the library... the rest (basically what's left over for 3G) is just E-mail and light browsing (forums/Slashdot/blogs).

Re:so little? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096070)

That's on average less then 5MB per day. If I read a few 400 comment threads on slashdot or fark I already have to download that much html. What are these people doing with their phones?

Making/receiving phone calls? Just a guess.

Re:so little? (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096226)

probably not even loading websites. data counts on more then html so if they just check some emails and send a pic or something they will not use mutch data. and probably not using any data for days at a time. they are giving you avg so thats the the total data used divided by 30. and you get a daily usage avg. my buddy has a 3g modem he only uses for mmos at work. he works security and they let him do anything to stay awake. anyways mmos use very little data most of them anyways so he has a little 250mb a month plain and its more then enough to pay his favorite mmo without ever going over.

Re:so little? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33096880)

streaming their music collection?

Somehow this tells... (-1, Troll)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095590)

...a lot about the usability of the iPhone OS - obviously it offers something fundamentally different in online experience and usability than the other smartphone environments. To simply claim that this huge difference in statistics has everything to do with the utterly lame idea that is the "typical Apple #%@&! user" is complete, narrowminded idiocy.

Re:Somehow this tells... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33095676)

lol, troll. Can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. rofl

Countering your argument, there's pretty much nothing different between any kind of phone. A browser is a browser. An app is an app. More often than not these days, smartphone have an online store. I dunno, more often then not I see people playing games (tetris)... Oh yeah, and most other phones have at least flash lite, so they automatically download more when online. For all Android phones, they have Skyfire which automatically transcodes Flash Video to a format the browser recognizes.

So I wouldn't be surprised if this were actually the case. =P

Re:Somehow this tells... (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095760)

I have a droid and have full flash, the rest of the droid folks will have it next week.

Re:Somehow this tells... (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096254)

well most people are aware of there data caps and avoid any heavy usage wile on there 3g mode. they will switch to wifi if available and the few times its not use there 3g but it still will give them a pretty low avg usesage. or us there gps using some of there 3g data.

Re:Somehow this tells... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098112)

Verizon customers have no such cap, only tethered data is capped.

Re:Somehow this tells... (2, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096064)

I think it probably tells you more about AT&T and tethering (or lack thereof). Of course you CAN tether now, but you have to pay through the nose.

I've had an iPhone 3gs for about a year. The most data I've used in any month has been ~850mb, with an average of around 250-300mb.

Most of the time I'm on a wifi network. Some hotels, my workplaces, home, many restaurants, etc. The 850mb was traveling through several states and using the iPhone heavily for mapping, etc.

I would think I would have trouble using 2gb of data in a month on my iPhone unless I turned off my wifi (which would be stupid to do at home and at work) and like..left yourube videos streaming.

Re:Somehow this tells... (1)

leoofborg (803260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097516)

That bears out what I see when I'm in a city area, which isn't so often these days. Just using my iPhone 3GS sans tethering I'm averaging between 2-5 gigs a month. Last month, however, I had to do everything from the phone (including download of software updates, *and* the iOS 4 firmware)... from the iPhone:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/leoofborg/4814198808/ [flickr.com]

Filer.app (formerly Downloader) & 'Downloads.app' are your friend(s).

Re:Somehow this tells... (2, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096128)

...a lot about the usability of the iPhone OS - obviously it offers something fundamentally different in online experience and usability than the other smartphone environments.

Fundamentally different and inferior compared to other Verizon smartphones, you mean?

Re:Somehow this tells... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098306)

i think no matter how you twist and turn that, the iphone users seem to enjoy "the online" a shitloads more than the other smartphone users. draw your own conclusions.

That's a little low... (1)

phishtahko (1308293) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095614)

My cell data usage is ~3GB for this month. Yea wifi tethering!

But what does the average USER use? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095622)

The number in the OP includes all the power users and all the non (or minimal) users. A much more useful measurement would be to know how much data an average user uses. Depending on the proportion of power to non users, that could be more or less than this average for all users.

Re:But what does the average USER use? (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096330)

Ok, I'm no statistitian. But it sounds like you're saying that you'd rather see the numbers for the 20% with the lowest usage, and the 20% with the highest usage thrown out and the middle 60% averaged.

Essentially re-averaging the middle of the bell curve. Doesn't seem like that would be any more valuable than the average of all users since it would be an average of users that are in the average range of all users.

Re:But what does the average USER use? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096538)

e-averaging the middle of the bell curve

In a way, yes. What I'm stumbling towards is some sort of realisation that there are some (how many? very few or a large proportion) of cellphone user who has little or no data usage. Maybe they just make voice calls if this is normal behaviour for the 42% of non-smartphone owners then it's significant. OTOH, we aren't told if there are also a small number of people on, or who have been on, unlimited tariffs who skew the average massively.

As a fellow non-statistician, this sounds to me like wanting to know the median usage. Or what I (as someone who doesn't feel the need to continually stream stuff) would expect to use if I felt the need for a smartphone.

Re:But what does the average USER use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097934)

As something closer to a statistician, a few comments:

1) This is one case where I don't think I'd expect a normal distribution, so "bell curve" probably doesn't make much sense.

2) The lower cap is much closer to the given average than the upper cap on usages. It's quite possible that the top 20% accounts for almost all of the data traffic, driving the numbers far higher than 80% of the users ever see, in which case looking at the middle 60% would be valuable.

3) The data is useful for examining tiered pricing structures (like AT&T's 200MB/2GB thing), so it'd be good to see where most users stand in the usage.

Doesn't say much. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095634)

While good to know that most people don't use that much data over cell connection. But Apple could use it to show that Android phone are so difficult to use that people don't know how to install wifi with it. Or it could be that there are more apps for the iPhone so less need to download web content for UI. Or it could be that more techy people use Android feature. Or it could mean AT&T has bad service in heavy use areas

Statistics fail. (5, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095650)

This is not useful data. The average data usage per month for all cell phone users includes (from the article) the 47% of all cell phone users who are not data users at all. This is like trying to find the average upload & download per month for broadband users by finding out the total bandwidth used by broadband subscribers then dividing it by the entire population of Earth.

Now that we've established your level of mathematical competency, could I interest you in a few lottery tickets?

Re:Statistics fail. (1)

brasselv (1471265) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095700)

About 95% of the surveys I see on mainstream news outlets, have some type of severe or killer statistical flaw in the data, that should be entirely obvious to any mildly clever 4th grader. This one is no exception.

I still wonder if it is due to basic mathematical illiteracy, or to a headline-grabbing attitude.
Either way, it's depressing.

Re:Statistics fail. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095852)

It's due to the assumption by news outlets and journalists that most people are mathematically illiterate, so they should speak to that level. It's also far easier to get the results to match your message when you can pick and choose between the available statistics, even when in isolation, the individual statistics are useless.

You don't understand (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096940)

At a growth rate of 50% per month in a very few years usage will average over terabytes per month and AT&T's extra usage fees will exceed the GNP of the United States. It's a conspiracy I tell you.

Re:Statistics fail. (1)

leoofborg (803260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097504)

THANK YOU. I knew that I smelled bullshit.

I live (mostly) out in the country away from the madding WiFi crowd. Can you guess how much 3G guys like me are sucking up? It's not 500 meg. Try 20x that. And *not* tethering. At all:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/leoofborg/4814198808/ [flickr.com]

Lies, damn statistics and all that.

Everything evens out (2, Insightful)

Ryokurin (74729) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095788)

I didn't see it listed in the article, but around 43% of Verizon users use data, compared to the 71.2% of at&t users that the article did mention. Even with the wifi network at&t may have the bigger burden due to more users.

Re:Everything evens out (1)

SteveTauber (996603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097170)

Even with the wifi network at&t may have the bigger burden due to more users.

AT&T have a bigger burden due to their shitty cell network.

Verizon teathering (2, Informative)

Nemilar (173603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095814)

I'm in the 500M to 1G camp, and I'm on Verizon. The only reason my data usage is so high is because Verizon offered to give me the "mobile hotspot" feature free for life (a little app on my phone that acts as a gateway and gives me a wireless access point which then routes out to 3G). I use it literally every day, on the train, to connect my netbook to the internet.

Without the mobile hotspot, I would probably use less than 100M per month. And hey, they gave it to me free!

Re:Verizon teathering (1)

grahamsaa (1287732) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098408)

Why did they give it to you "for free"? Some kind of promotion? Last I checked, Verizon charges customers for tethering. While it is possible to tether for free with smart phones, this usually requires jailbreaking (for Android) or some third party app like PDANet, which is against the terms of your service (admittedly, the terms are terribly written -- they say that users can not tether without purchasing a plan. It's already clearly established that it's not a question of whether users can, but whether they may. .

The only way I'd accept your claim that Verizon's given you the ability to tether for free would be if you're using VZ Access Manager (Verizon's tethering software) to do it.

I've used over that in 2 days (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095856)

Since yesterday when I have no internet, I've been using my nexus one to tether. Just browsing the internets on my laptop I've gone over that. Limit is 1GB. let's hope i have the internet installed by then!

Compare to voice... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#33095980)

With a voice call at ~8 kbps, 140 MB is equivelent to 40 hours of talking on the phone a month. Smartphone data is pretty darn significant in the phone company world.

Re:Compare to voice... (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096652)

Yes, but one is packet routed and the other is circuit switched. Obviously, one puts much less strain on the network.

Re:Compare to voice... (1)

Spyrus (633357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097204)

You make it sound as if talking on the phone for an average 70 minutes per day is a lot. Is that what you meant?

That was me, sorry! (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096550)

I was downloading the torrented facebook files over verizon.

Download limits? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096728)

What is that?

AT&T, no thank you. I've had their service in different forms, and was passed along between them and Cingular for too long.

Verizon, no thank you. After limited use with their terrible computer hijacker called VZ Access Manager, any company with deceptive practices like this are not for me.

TMobile, no thank you. Had them for just over two years. I was never really dissatisfied with the service, but my phone bill was approaching $100/mo toward the end of my contract because I started using my phone a lot more often (was on the $45/mo basic plan).

Sprint, my new provider. I'm sure that, in time, I will stop liking them. For now, however, I am very happy with my service. Unlimited data. Unlimited mobile to mobile voice. My phone works inside my apartment (unlike TMobile), and 4G is supposedly coming to Denver in October (I can connect to 4G now, but it doesn't really work yet).

I honestly don't see the point of getting one of these super cool new "phones" that do everything else, only to be limited by the amount of data you can pass through it. With just four days left of my first billing cycle, I've used 478,100kb.

Of course, not being limited by data limits just means that I'm limited by my battery limits. Though, my netbook functions as a pretty good backup battery.

How fast is usage growing? (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096738)

The really interesting data would be how much data usage has grown over the past 3 years, and even over the past 3 months.

AT&T changed their iPhone data plan from unlimited to 2GB/month. You bet your bippy that AT&T had projections as to when the average consumer would exceed that allotment so that they can begin offering higher tier data plans for more $$$$$$$$$.

Sprint has true unlimited (2, Funny)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096758)

I'm doing my bit to push up the average. I used about 55GB last month on a Sprint 3G smartphone plan and think replacing my DSL with using my phone instead was a great decision. It's only $70-$80 a month for such a nice plan, too.

Re:Sprint has true unlimited (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33096842)

I thought about doing the same, but one of the handiest things I now do with my phone is to remote desktop into my home PC. Wyse Pocket Cloud is full of win. Likely one of the coolest evolutions in computing I have ever seen. I can even log in to our ancient HP-UX POS machine from anywhere*. Using it takes some practice, but it's a great way to access such a legacy system without having to install a bunch of new stuff.

If they come out with an Android version of Reflections, our entire customer processing dynamic TOTALLY changes. A smart phone that also doubles as a cash register is an incredibly powerful new tool for us.

The upward TREND is interesting, not the NUMBERS. (1)

Spyrus (633357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097186)

Average data use is a meaningless statistic, and I'm sick of seeing people trot out those numbers to justify tiered pricing plans that punish people who use their smartphones for their intended purpose. I think the point of the article, as stated in the title, is that smartphones are here to stay and their usage is only going to grow. A few years ago, few people were interested in browsing the web over an EDGE connection. Now there are zillions of ways to be connected and entertained. Even non-geeks. Wireless carriers should facilitate this. When AT&T dropped their unlimited data plan and introduced tiered pricing, it dropped prices for the light users and added modest costs to heavy users. There's nothing wrong with that, but please let's not imply that using less than 150MB per month is "average," or "normal," or in any other way desirable. If every iPhone user in my region were on Waze, our traffic would be vastly improved. And if they were listening to Pandora or Last.fm they'd all be happier. At least that's where the vast majority of my 2.1GB per month of iPhone data is going. I can't say for sure, because all I get is the metered bill. It would be neat to see it broken down by traffic type.

So weird... (1)

gvoima (1868430) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098350)

This is actually quite interesting to see how much data usage differs. I'm a quite normal "nerd" user of a cellular network via mobile phone around 8-10 gigabytes per month, that includes the random mobile phone usage as a laptop modem. I have my own landline at home, so the mobile network is not the only option. But it helps to have a 17 dollars per month plan with unlimited data, no speed limit in a HSPA+ network with good country wide coverage.

Maybe it's because they have Android (2, Insightful)

spauldo (118058) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098626)

After buying my iPhone, I found a number of "features" on it that pissed me right off. Granted, I should have researched more, but I was on a limited time frame.

In any case, I decided I'm not going to pay a dime to the app store. I'm not sending any more money to Apple.

Because of this, I don't have that many apps on it. I browse the 'net a bit, and use Google Maps quite a bit, but other than that I don't really do much. I could pretty much replace the thing with a $30 phone, a GPS navigation system, and a book to read while I'm waiting on my food at truck stops.

My next phone will be an Android (probably second-hand and unlocked, since I doubt AT&T will start selling them any time soon) and I expect my usage will go up quite a bit.

(For those curious, a small sample of my problems with the phone includes the crippled bluetooth, the requirement for itunes to do anything to the phone, the lack of jailbreak ability (this has since been solved, but wasn't when I got the phone), the lack of flash support, and the insane way you have to go about converting mp3s to ringtones, among other nitpicks. All these are related to how Apple wants to control my use of the phone. The killer was when, shortly after I got the phone and had everything set up on it, my one machine with windows on it crashed, and after I reinstalled it insisted I erase my phone in order to resync it. I'm not a violent man, but I came really close to crushing my phone with my truck when that happened.)

Have always been told.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098728)

I've always been told that I was "above" average... ;-)

This isn't the data I am interested in (1)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099044)

I am far more interested in seeing more refined details based at least by phone, if not carrier and plan.

After all, does it make a difference if you are on a web-capable phone with an app downloader and a special mobile phone web browser compared to a smartphone with a full web browser and flash 10.1 compatibility? Does it matter if your phone has a 240x80 LCD with a d-pad for navigation, a 2.7" touch screen with ink input and virtual keypad, or a 4.3" touch screen with virtual keypad? Does it matter if you can throw an app like Google Maps on it or use a proprietary navigator that has maps loaded onto the phone? Does it matter if you even signed up for a data plan or not when using a web capable phone? Does it matter if you tether your phone to a laptop or use a Cradlepoint PHS300 to make your tethered phone into a mobile hotspot to share internet in a van on a cross-country trip... maybe streaming Netflix for entertainment?

I think most of us will say yes, it matters. Not all users are equal, and not all data plans result in equal behavior.

So, I say in the least show us by phone so we can see if their is greater usage or equal usage between older "web capable" cellphones and the newest breeds of almost netbook equivalent (in hardware power and software functionality) smartphones.

I can tell you this - my verizon data usage was very high with my Omnia and $30 data plan when I had cable because I used the slingbox mobile player app. Very hand for filling time while waiting for the wife to finish shopping or for the dentist's secretary to call "next". However, I dropped TV so my data usage went down. ;)

Error correction? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099386)

Phone platform aside, I wonder if they included or included the bandwidth re-transmitted due to errors on the line? My experience has been that Verizon has significantly higher failure rates per packet than other superior (GSM) networks. You're out in the boonies with Verizon 3G, and you're taking 2-3 times as much bandwidth to actually transmit/receive. In contrast, with t-mobile you either have a connection or you don't.

The dubious study results...confirmed? (1)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099530)

At the beginning of June when AT&T's new data plans were announced I was a little miffed as an iPhone owner but curious what my actual usage was. I had gotten used to the idea of "unlimited" data and wondered how close to the 5GB soft cap I was getting. I figured the new 2GB cap for "unlimited" would really screw me over. On June 2nd I reset the data counter on my iPhone and checked it against at the end of the month and reading this story I checked it again. I'm only averaging about 170MB of cellular data a month. If this trend bears out I may go crazy and drop down to the 200MB plan and save myself $60 a year.

I've got WiFi at work and at home so there's a lot of browsing and e-mail checking I do that never goes over the cell network. While I'm out and not around a WiFi connection I tend to browse mobile versions of blogs and new sites. I really appreciate sites adding mobile-friendly stylesheets and such. Even over 3G browsing on a cellular connection is slow going and the full blown versions of even simple pages are between 1-2MB anymore. For instance Engadget's mobile page is only about 300K worth of resources while their normal page is between 1.5-2MB. That's a ridiculous amount of superfluous shit you've got to download to read a web page that's mostly text. It's not just the size of resources but the number of separate files (and therefore separate HTTP connections) that cause problems. Even the fastest 3G has latency of at least a quarter of a second, every separate file is a separate HTTP connection that needs to be negotiated and with everyone using CDNs and advertising affiliates often a dozen or so DNS lookups.

As an aside: if you administer a website please optimize your resources. It's not the most difficult thing in the world and it benefits everyone, not just people with smart phones. I've got a 10Mbps DSL connection and while it's not the fastest connection in the world pages don't load any faster than my 512Kbps connection from ten years ago.

What are the costs like? (1)

hasdikarlsam (414514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33102638)

Over here in Norway, I've got a pay-as-you-go phone; zero subscription costs, but I pay for usage. Ignoring voice for the moment, that's at a rate of 10 øre (roughly 0.0165 US dollars) per MB of traffic. There are, of course, no caps; that would be silly.

How does this chalk up to what you get elsewhere?

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