On average, U.S. subscribers consumed 1.8GB of cellular data every month in the third quarter of 2014, with those on Google Android phones consuming 6.8GB of WiFi data and those with iPhones consuming 8.9GB of WiFi data, according to mobile analytics provider Mobidia’s latest report.
The study, based on a data set spanning July through September of 2014 and covering hundreds of thousands of wireless subscribers in the U.S., indicates increased cellular, Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiFi usage as subscribers continue to expand app and media usage on their smartphones.
"There could be a lot of reasons [why iPhone users consumer more data] but it might be because iOS users are generally less price-sensitive and pay more for things than Android users," Chris Hill, director of product management at Mobidia, told eWEEK. "The mobile app economy has a lot of analysis out there that shows iOS users pay more for apps and in-app purchases. iPhones are more expensive than a lot of Android phones, so they are likely buying larger plans."
In addition, U.S. LTE subscribers with iPhones consumed an average of 12GB of total data—nearly double that of 3G subscribers’ usage. Their 3G counterparts consumed only 7.1GB of total data, according to the report.
On a carrier level, Verizon subscribers enjoyed the most access to LTE networks with 98 percent of their cellular data consumed on LTE networks.
The survey found LTE data accounted for 93 percent of cellular data consumed by Sprint subscribers and only 86 percent of data consumed by AT&T subscribers.
"In the near future, users are going to consume more cellular data with LTE access but WiFi is not going anywhere," Hill said. "We do see slight increases in the use of data-hungry activity on LTE networks--such as file sharing, video, et cetera. But for app updates, longer videos, users are definitely still searching out a WiFi connection. We also see LTE users buying bigger plans and using more of their plans."
For subscribers of the big four U.S. operators, at least 92 percent of subscribers used WiFi at least once a month, and this number is higher for iPhone users, nearly all (98 percent) of whom access WiFi monthly.
Meanwhile, Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers consumed the most total data with 10.2GB and 9.5GB per month, respectively.
"I don’t think caps are going away," Hill explained. "Operators in the [U.S.] have finally got folks off the unlimited plans. We may see operators use that lever from time to time to gain share but as we have seen with TMO recently – they moved off of unlimited. Almost the whole world is on metered plans and I expect that to be the standard."