Mobile data analysts Arieso have found iPhone 5 users are the most “voracious” data users.
The company performed the study of more than one million data users over one weekday in a tier-one 3G European network operator.
Of the 125 devices studied in the report, iPhone 5 users consumed four times as much data as iPhone 3G users and 50% more than iPhone 4S users, previously the device that used the most data in the 2012 study.
Arieso said the Samsung Galaxy S III uploaded nearly four times the amount of data that iPhone 3G users did, with Samsung Galaxy Note II in second place for uplink data usage and iPhone 5 users coming in third.
Samsung Tab 2 10.1 users consumed 20% more data than iPad users in the tablet market, the report found.
Smart phones using more data than tablets
However smart phone users were consistently using more mobile data than tablet users, the report said, for the first time in its three years of publication. Out of the top ten usage-heavy devices, excluding dongles, six were smartphones, three tablets and one ‘phablet’, with tablet users placing 4th, 8th and 9th, Arieso said.
Arieso chief technology officer and study author Dr Michael Flanagan said the capabilities of the newest smartphones, not tablets, were allowing greater user demand.
“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.”
LTE creates more data demand
The company said the study last year showed 1% of users consumed 50% of the downlink data on 3G/Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) networks but that this year, the most data-using 1% used 40% of the downlink, with the “hungriest” 0.1% using almost 20%. Dr Flanagan said the region studied this year had recently launched Long Term Evolution (LTE) and extreme users were starting to move to 4G.
Arieso’s report said LTE introduced bandwidth, relieving pressure on UMTS networks. However, since the three years of reports had seen greater technical capability lead to greater data consumption, Dr Flanagan said the company hypothesized LTE alone would not solve data demand problems, but exacerbate it.
Arieso said meeting the expectations of LTE users required a different approach to network design, with small cells, or cell sites with smaller range often used to increase network capacity, and their careful placement and management, being of importance.
“With the right location intelligence pervading the network – identifying where, for example, extreme LTE users congregate – operators will immediately know where to place small cell asset,” Dr Flanagan said.