Heavy LTE Users Use an Order of Magnitude More Data than Heavy 3G Users

By Gary Kim January 23, 2014

One constant in the mobile or fixed Internet access business is that when a faster network is made available, users consume more data. 

Most observers would likely agree that the reason is better user experience. When content can be retrieved more quickly, people spend more time interacting with apps. That is the reason Google is so focused on encouraging faster Internet access.

And a new study conducted by JDSU’s Location Intelligence Business Unit suggests not only that LTE encourages more data consumption, but also dramatically increases the consumption of the heaviest users. Overall, heavy LTE users consume 10 times more data than similar heavy 3G users.

iPhone 5s users demand seven times as much data as the benchmark iPhone 3G users in developed markets, and twenty times as much data in developing markets, the study suggests.

Apple iPhone 5s users demand 20 percent more data than iPhone 5 users  in developed markets and 50 percent more data in developing markets, the study suggests.

Samsung Galaxy S4 users generate five times as much data as iPhone 3G users in developed markets, and eleven times as much data in developing markets.

The extreme one percent of all users consume over half of the downlink data in both developing and developed markets. LTE users are ten-times more extreme: 0.1 percent of all users consume over half of the LTE downlink data.

In 2011, one percent of 3G users consumed half of the entire downlink data. In 2012 the findings were the same: one percent of 3G users still consumed about half of the data.

On the 4G LTE networks, 0.1 percent of 4G users consume more than half of the entire LTE downlink data: an order of magnitude smaller group of users.

“The faster the speeds that mobile operators provide, the more consumers swallow it up and demand more,” JDSU says.

Perhaps significantly, the study revealed that users in developed and developing markets had similar overall rankings in terms of smartphone data consumption, but also little use of data cards and dongles or tablet connections.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing Editor

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