Smartphone data usage surges for everyone but T-Mobile USA

Validas, which analyzes the mobile-phone bills of consumers, released data revealing that smartphone data usage increased dramatically over the last year for all major operators except T-Mobile USA.

The firm studied the mobile-phone bills of consumers for a year--from June 2010 to July 2011--and discovered smartphone data usagethat Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) recorded the largest jump in smartphone data usage at 150 percent. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) was second with an increase of 116 percent. Validas postulates the growth was due to the proliferation of the iPhone. Sprint (NYSE:S) saw an increase of 69 percent, while T-Mobile USA experienced a .02-percent decrease.

Not surprisingly, Sprint users consume the most data--nearly 400MB per month--thanks to the operator's refusal to place caps on data usage. It is now the only major operator that doesn't cap data usage or throttle data speeds.

"While T-Mobile Smartphone users' data plateauing suggests that there are ceilings in data consumption, the massive data usage increase for AT&T and Verizon Wireless Smartphone users suggest that they haven't come close to hitting one yet," Validas said in a blog post. "The lowest plan on AT&T is 250MB and Verizon Wireless just announced a $20 300MB plan--potentially leaving some of the data hungry exposed to slamming into the caps if their usage rides higher and higher and their plan isn't adjusted."

Validas didn't offer a hypothesis on why T-Mobile USA's smartphone data consumption is falling. It may be because the operator is still viewed as a low-cost calling leader, despite the fact that it has rolled out HSPA+ rather aggressively.

For more:
- see this blog post

Related articles:
Nielsen: Smartphone data usage up 89%, cost per MB down 46%
Sprint looking rosey in Verizon's move to usage-based smartphone data pricing
Verizon will switch to usage-based smartphone data pricing in July  

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