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Up 89 percent from last year

No surprise here: Mobile data usage is still on the rise, jumping by an average of 89 percent per user compared to last year.

Nielsen has released a new report that characterizes what it calls the "Mobile Data Tsunami." In its monthly analysis of 65,000 mobile lines, Nielsen found that smartphone owners — particularly Android and iPhone users — consume more data than ever before. 

Android users consume the most (582MB per month on average), with iPhone users close behind (492MB). Android users’ data consumption has been duly noted by Nielsen and others in the past.

The increased usage translates to even greater numbers than would appear, thanks to smartphone users now accounting for 37 percent of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. (That number is predicted to swell above 50 percent by next year.)

Another point of interest in the new results is that the average cost per megabyte of data has dropped from 14 cents to just 8 cents, because, as users have consumed more data, the cost of it has held relatively steady. This might change soon, though, with unlimited data plans quickly becoming a thing of the past.

And while the average smartphone user consumes 89 percent more data than during the same period last year, data usage among the top 10 percent of smartphone owners increased by 109 percent (the top 1 percent rose 144 percent).

"Growth in smartphone data usage is clearly being driven by app-friendly operating systems like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android," Nielsen writes. "Also of note, Windows Phone 7 users doubled their usage over the past two quarters, perhaps due to growth in the number of applications available.”





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