Report: LTE subscribers use more data in over-the-top content apps

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U.S. LTE Android smartphone customers use more data on over-the-top applications such as Netflix and Hulu than their non-LTE peers, according to a new research report, giving credence to the notion that subscribers with a faster connection and lower latency will consume more data. 

Click here for details from the report.

The study, conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media and Mobidia, a mobile data solutions vendor, found that most customers using the applications--Dropbox, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube--did so using Wi-Fi connections. However, the overall data consumption from these apps was consistently higher among LTE subscriber than non-LTE customers.

For example, the data traffic for LTE customers using Netflix was 1.6 GB, double the roughly 800 MB observed for non-LTE Netflix users. The difference for the other applications between LTE and non-LTE subscribers was not nearly as large, but LTE users consistently used more data on average than non-LTE customers. The report concluded that wireless customers are no longer confining their traffic to Wi-Fi if they are able to access LTE.

To produce the study, Informa and Mobidia collaborated to analyze data collected in May 2012 from hundreds of thousands of global smartphone users. The firms said the data was collected on a strictly anonymous and opt-in basis from a sample of the more than 1.5 million subscribers who have downloaded Mobidia's smartphone application, My Data Manager. The data sample represents smartphone users from more than 600 carriers worldwide.

The report also found that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone users consume more data than Android users in most developed countries. The firms reported that Android users often use more cellular data--but when including Wi-Fi and cellular data, iPhone users average 37 percent more data per month than Android users.

In terms of Wi-Fi usage among smartphone customers, smartphone subscribers in the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany use Wi-Fi as a means of data connectivity the most (the report found that 88 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers use Wi-Fi). The report found that Wi-Fi usage is "surprisingly consistent" across users with varying cellular data plans--even those with smaller plans of below 500 MB per month.

Among the four Tier 1 U.S. carriers, the report found that, as of January 2012, Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) customers connected most often to the carrier's cellular data network (possibly due to Sprint's unlimited data offering). According to the report, slightly more than half of Sprint's customers accessed its cellular data network, with the remaining traffic going over Wi-Fi. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) customers used cellular data around 40 percent of the time, T-Mobile USA customers around 35 percent of the time and AT&T (NYSE:T) Mobility was using cellular around 25 percent of the time.

For more:
- see this release
- see this report (reg. req.)

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