Android Users Hungriest for Mobile Data, Study Says

Users of Android phones consume far more mobile data than users of other smartphones do, according to a study released Wednesday by network management software provider Arieso.

Specifically, users with handsets based on Google's Android operating system score higher than users of both the iPhone3G and iPhone 4 in terms of data call volumes, time connected to the network, and data volume uploaded and downloaded, Arieso found.

Android-powered smartphone users also score highest in both the "uplink data volume" and the "downlink data" categories, the company reported. Samsung Galaxy users, for example, typically upload 126 percent more data than iPhone3G users do, and HTC Desire users download 41 percent more data than do iPhone3G users.

Arieso used the iPhone3G as a normalized benchmark in its analysis of data consumption by users of newer smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the Google Nexus One, the HTC Desire, the Sony Ericsson Xperia and the Apple iPhone 4. To conduct the study, Arieso used its location-aware and customer-centric network management solution, ariesoGEO.

No Change in Voice Calling

Though not as "data-hungry" as Android users, people with iPhone 4 devices were found to be hungrier than their iPhone3G counterparts. Compared with iPhone3G users, those on the iPhone 4 typically make 44 percent more data calls, download 41 percent more data to their devices, and spend 67 percent more time connected to the network for data, Arieso found.

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Perhaps even more significant overall is that voice calls per subscriber have stayed roughly the same, Arieso found, suggesting that "the new breed of smartphone subscribers use their devices first and foremost for data consumption rather than making phone calls," the company pointed out.

"Smartphone subscriptions are rising and so too is subscriber appetite for mobile data," Arieso CTO Michael Flanagan explained. "Since the launch of the iPhone3G, we've seen a multitude of popular new smartphones arrive on the market, successfully driving app and service usage. It's a trend that's set to continue."

An Ongoing Problem

Indeed, given market researcher IDC's recent prediction that smartphones will soon outpace PCs in worldwide shipments, it's clear that network congestion could be an ongoing problem as data traffic levels continue to increase

With Android inching ever closer to the leading spot in the smartphone arena, meanwhile, that issue could be felt even more strongly. The platform now accounts for 23.5 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers, according to recent data from comScore, putting it in third place in that arena.

Enterprises with a mix of smartphone devices will need to factor such considerations--and the corresponding pricing effects--into their mobile device management strategies.

Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.

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