Smartphones hungrier than tablets for data utilisation – Arieso says

Arieso has just released the results of a study into recent trends in extreme data, revealing new challengers for Telcos and network operators.

The latest Hungry Handsets report by Arieso

The latest Hungry Handsets report by Arieso

This year’s Hungry Handsets study finds that:

  • Smartphones trump tablets in terms of data consumption and generation
  • Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s GALAXY SIII goes head to head against each other at the top of the data utilisation list
  • Data upload has grown, as users generate more data.

This latest analysis by Arieso into mobile data use also reveals that 40% of all data is consumed by only 1% of users, although LTE is starting to take the strain.

Interview with study author

Dr. Michael Flanagan, study author & CTO, Arieso

Dr. Michael Flanagan, study author & CTO, Arieso

I spoke with Dr. Michael Flanagan, the study author and Arieso CTO about the report.

He observed that the data crunch in the wireless industry started by the launch of the iPhone was not abating; and the study revealed that increasingly sophisticated devices are unleashing unprecedented levels of user demand.

He cautioned that the particular results in this study corresponded to the specific market that was studied, and that these results could vary depending on a number of circumstances (including morphologies, available devices, regional customer behaviors, and socio-economic user factors).

“Yet again we found that novel usage patterns, new technologies and regional idiosyncrasies are conspiring to make life increasingly difficult for mobile operators trying to meet evolving customer expectations,” said study author and Arieso CTO, Dr. Michael Flanagan.

As such, these results are intended to be illustrative rather than definitive.

Dr. Flanagan urged network operators to embark upon similar subscriber and network evaluation programs in order to determine the clear and present data demands being placed on their networks as well as the most appropriate response strategies to best satisfy this demand.

For the first time, smartphone users are consistently consuming more mobile data than tablet users.

Statistics were compared using the iPhone 3G as a baseline. Click to view a more detailed table.

Statistics were compared using the iPhone 3G as a baseline. Click to view a more detailed table.

Out of the top ten most voracious devices (excluding dongles) six were smartphones, three tablets and one a ‘phablet’.

Tablet users placed 4th, 8th and 9th.

In terms of data consumption (download), the iPhone 5 topped the list of devices studied, with
the HTC Sensation XL 23% behind in second place, and the GALAXY SIII a close third.

In terms of data generation (upload) however, the GALAXY SIII topped other devices, while the Samsung GALAXY Note 2 “phablet” came in a close second (only 3% behind), with the iPhone 5 (11% behind GALAXY III) and iPhone 4 (20% behind GALAXY SIII) not far behind in third and fourth place.

The study revealed that for every one uplink byte of data generated, six downlink bytes of data were received.

“The ability to conduct detailed analysis such as this is critical in giving operators a rich source of intelligence to help boost network performance and enrich user experience,” added Dr. Flanagan.

This is a 17% increase over the relative amount of uplink data seen last year (when the ratio was 1:7).

This trend is consistent with increasing amounts of social networking (especially photo and video uploading) as well as cloud synchronization.

The increasing resolution of device cameras would also have contributed to the increased size of uploaded photos or video.

The scene in APAC

The study observes that “network operators in APAC have already begun to make the necessary paradigm shifts in network optimization to address data communications objectives.

This is consistent with the 96 commercial deployments of LTE in APAC as of September 2012 and the fact that 40% of the world’s LTE subscribers are in APAC.

While new spectrum is already in place for LTE, the combination of new bandwidth and increased spectral efficiency offered by LTE is inadequate for long-term data growth, as noted in last year’s report.

The upgrade of existing cell sites from 3G to 4G is necessary, but far from sufficient: The increased data demands of the future additionally require the deployment of small cells precisely where the data demand is located.

The bottom line is that network operators in Asia Pacific need to accelerate the surgical deployment of small cells in order to avoid spectral exhaustion.”

To get a copy of the actual report email requests to:

Infographic for the latest Hungry Handsets study.

Infographic for the latest Hungry Handsets study.

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4 Responses to “Smartphones hungrier than tablets for data utilisation – Arieso says”

  1. Reben Lee says:

    What happened to the iPads? Wouldn’t they also comsume lots of data too? didn’t see it in the table in the article.

    • tech4tea says:

      They were included in the study and were indeed voracious consumers as well. If you click the image for the table in the post, it will lead you to a more detailed table which includes the consumption/generation figures for the iPad and iPad 2.

  2. Joanne Brie says:

    where can I view a copy of the actual report?

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