U.S. LTE subscribers are using almost twice as much data on average than their 3G counterparts, according to a new report from mobile analytics firm Mobidia. The company's research also found that Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) and Sprint (NYSE: S) subscribers are using more LTE data than customers of AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS).
Although Mobidia did not provide an explanation for that assessment about the disparity between LTE usage among the different carriers, it could be because AT&T and T-Mobile have faster and more extensive 3G fallback networks that use HSPA+ technology, while Verizon and Sprint have focused on overlaying LTE so customers do not have to fall back as often to slower EV-DO technology.
According to the report, Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers consumed the most total data in the third quarter, burning through 10.2 GB and 9.5 GB per month, respectively. Both Sprint and T-Mobile still offer unlimited smartphone data plans.
"U.S. wireless subscribers with LTE capable devices have cranked up their data usage this year," Chris Hill, senior vice president of marketing at Mobidia, said in a statement. "In fact, LTE subscribers are consuming almost twice as much cellular data as 3G subscribers, according to the reports we've received from hundreds of thousands of cellular subscribers in the U.S."
However, while U.S. subscribers consumed an average of 1.8 GB of cellular data every month during the third quarter, the report found that smartphone users continue to rely heavily on Wi-Fi connections. Mobidia found that U.S. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone users consumed 82 percent of their mobile data while connected to Wi-Fi and users with phones running Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android platform did so 78 percent of the time. Specifically, those with iPhones consumed an average of 8.9 GB of Wi-Fi data per month while those on Android phones consumed 6.8 GB of Wi-Fi data on average.
Not surprisingly, since Verizon has the largest LTE network in the country, Verizon subscribers enjoyed the most access to LTE networks, with 98 percent of their cellular data consumed on LTE. LTE data accounted for 93 percent of cellular data consumed by Sprint subscribers and only 86 percent of data consumed by AT&T subscribers. Mobidia did not reveal how much of the time T-Mobile customers spent on LTE.
Mobidia also found that for subscribers of Tier 1 carriers, at least 92 percent of subscribers used Wi-Fi at least once a month. This number is higher for iPhone users, 98 percent of whom accessed Wi-Fi monthly.
In terms of other findings, the firm found that U.S. LTE subscribers with iPhones consumed an average of 12 GB of total data per month while their 3G counterparts consumed only 7.1 GB of total data on average.
Mobidia tracks real subscriber behavior regarding data and application-specific usage on all the networks to which smartphones and tablets connect, including cellular, roaming and Wi-Fi. The firm analyzed data collected July through September from hundreds of thousands of wireless subscribers in the U.S. to analyze Wi-Fi, 3G and LTE usage trends.
- see this Mobidia release
- see this Telecompetitor article
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