Average Android, iOS smartphone data use across Tier 1 wireless carriers, through December

How much data does the average smartphone user consume?

It's a critical question for both users and the carriers that provide service--and it's a moving target. As users embrace a widening array of high-powered data services, wireless carriers are concurrently working to increase the data speeds available to their subscribers. The result is a situation where users have more services at their fingertips available at faster speeds.

With all this in mind, FierceWireless teamed with NPD Connected Intelligence to publish the results of the firm's SmartMeter surveying software. NPD's SmartMeter software is installed on around 1,500 smartphones (participants are provided "incentives" to install the software on their phones). NPD for around a year has tracked cellular data usage on 1,000 Android phones, and several months ago added iPhones to its survey base. NPD in December increased its iPhone survey base to 500 devices, which NPD said is its full panel size.

We realize that a sample size of 1,500 smartphones, spread across a number of wireless carriers, is not ideal--more is always better. However, we decided to publish this information to allow you, the reader, to make your own decision on whether it's useful. Feel free to take it or leave it.

The solid lines, below, show average Android smartphone cellular data use (Wi-Fi use is excluded) during the past seven months, broken down by wireless carrier. The dashed lines, below, show iPhone data use from September (with 100 iPhones), October (with 200 iPhones) and December (with 500 iPhones). T-Mobile has been removed from the iPhone statistics because NPD said the carrier's iPhone segment was too small and varied too much.

Solid Lines represent Android data. Dashed Lines with square markers represent iOS/iPhone data.

The raw data (measurements are GB per month):

Android Jun '12 Jul '12 Aug '12 Sep '12 Oct '12 Nov '12 Dec '12
Verizon Wireless 0.82 0.69 0.70 0.57 0.50 0.78 0.57
T-Mobile 0.82 1.03 1.02 1.09 1.23 1.63 0.92
Sprint 1.29 1.07 0.98 0.68 0.76 0.86 1.09
AT&T 0.88 0.80 0.91 0.89 0.94 0.86 0.69


iPhone Jun '12 Jul '12 Aug '12 Sep '12 Oct '12 Nov '12 Dec '12
Verizon       1.58 1.98 1.58 1.00
Sprint       0.72 1.92 1.48 0.89
AT&T       1.35 0.83 1.75 0.83

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Average Android, iOS smartphone data use across Tier 1 wireless carriers, through December