Report: iPhone users make up 80% of heaviest data users

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone users are the biggest data hogs, and make up 80 percent of the top 10 percent of heaviest data users, according to a new report from research firm Analysys Mason.

According to the report, of those smartphone users who are in the 70th percentile or above in terms of data usage, iPhone users appear more than three times as frequently as the next most "data-hungry" consumer segment, which are Android users on HTC-made devices. The report is based on data derived from Arbitron Mobile's on-device monitoring app that provided access to the smartphone behavior of more than 1,000 users for two months in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.

During Apple's last quarterly earnings conference call in late April, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company works to make the iPhone as data efficient as possible. "Our engineering teams work extremely hard to be efficient with data and differently than some others," he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "And we believe that as a result of this, that iPhone has far better data efficiency compared to other smartphones that are using sort of an app-rich ecosystem."

While some reports pinpoint iPhone users as the heaviest data users, others have also noted that they are more apt to use Wi-Fi networks than cellular data networks. iPhone users in the U.S. continue to rely on Wi-Fi connections more than subscribers using Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, according to an April report from research firm comScore.

The Analysys Mason report found that average smartphone data traffic levels "are very heavily skewed" by the high data usage of a small group of users. The research firm found that this high usage at the top end of the user base means that average monthly smartphone data traffic levels--which stood at 807 MB per month for the panel of 1,000 users surveyed--are 3.5 times higher than median data traffic levels generated by individual users (221 MB per month). The report also found that Android and iPhone users used "long-tail" apps, or apps that are outside the top 25 by number of users, 10 times more than consumers with BlackBerry or Symbian devices, despite similar overall penetration levels.

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