Study: One Percent of Heavy Data Consumers Generate Half of All Wireless Bandwidth Traffic
January 6, 2012 7:17 PM
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Arieso and Ericsson say it's due to increased use of smartphones instead of feature phones as well as the rise of mobile devices like tablets
A mobile advisory company recently found that the top 1 percent of heavy users are
, accounting for half of the world's mobile traffic.
Arieso, a Newbury, England-based provider of mobile network management software solutions, conducted a study back in November 2011 that followed 1.1 million mobile customers of a certain European operator.
After following these customers over a 24-hour time period, Arieso found that 1 percent of consumers generated half of all traffic while the top 10 percent generated about 90 percent of wireless bandwidth traffic. Sixty-four percent of heavy users accessed wireless bandwidth via laptop, 33 percent via smartphone and only 3 percent via an iPad.
Also, in 2009, the top three users consumed 40 percent of wireless bandwidth. Now Arieso reports that this number has jumped to 70 percent.
"Some people may draw the parallel to Occupy Wall Street, and I've already heard comments about 'Occupy the Downlink,'" said Michael Flanagan, chief technology officer at Arieso. "But the situations are very different, and the mobile situation doesn't break down along socioeconomic lines."
The European operator that took part in Arieso's study, which chose to remain anonymous, said that it was forced to install 250 microcells last year to
support traffic of heavy consumers
Not surprisingly, increased use is largely due to the rise of smartphones (and the replacement of feature phones) and other mobile electronics like tablets. According to a survey conducted by mobile network equipment maker Ericsson, about 13.2 percent of the 6.1 billion cell phones in this world are smartphones. More than 30 percent are smartphones in markets like Britain, Germany and the United States.
Ericsson's survey found that 40 percent of smartphone users would access mobile broadband connections before even getting out of bed last year, and now, the company expects global mobile data use to increase tenfold from 2011 to 2016.
The heaviest of mobile broadband hogs, however, are those that consume videos and surf the Web. According to Ericsson, extreme users watched videos 40 percent of the time, searched the Web 20 percent of the time, and the rest of the time was dedicated to social networking, e-mail, and software downloads.
Other possible reasons for increased mobile bandwidth usage are
assistants like Apple's Siri
, which is a digital assistant that helps users enter text and data faster. According to Arieso, users with the Apple 4S, which is the smartphone that Siri debuted on, downloaded 276 percent more data than Apple 3G users did.
The New York Times
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RE: Who pays the ferry man?
1/7/2012 10:02:18 AM
Probably wouldn't be enormous... but for those of us with a 15 minute drive to work, a nice plan with 250-500 would be great. I'm getting to the point where I use the 3G on my phone so little that I can't continue to justify it. I like the smartphone, it's just that most of the time when I'm idle enough to use it I have wifi. I would rather have an option for low bandwidth with a lower monthly, even if that lower was half what it is for the 5GB. Per MB would be far more expensive, but would be easier for me to justify at the end of the month when the bill was due.
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