mobile appLTE subscribers consume more cellular data than other wireless service carrier customers, according to new market research from Mobidia Technology and London-based market research company Ovum. Not only that, more than half of LTE subscribers buy larger data plans than they need.

With global LTE subscribers now numbering some 500 million, “LTE has become one of the fastest growing mobile technologies in history” in just six years, Mobidia points out in a press release. The LTE investments made by hundreds of mobile network service providers around the world are paying off, as “subscribers clearly value these faster speeds,” Mobidia adds.

Even though LTE subscribers consume more cellular data and buy larger data plans than 3G subscribers, “many also continue to purchase plans that are much larger than needed to cover their monthly usage,” according to the latest in Mobidia and Ovum’s series of white papers, entitled, “Smartphone & Tablet Usage Trends & Insights, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi Powering Data Consumption.”

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Average 4G Data Usage
Wi-Fi continues as the primary wireless connection mode for LTE subscribers. Over 80 percent of LTE subscribers’ monthly data consumption flows mostly across Wi-Fi networks at home and work, according to the report.

The Mobidia-Ovum white paper incorporates survey results spanning “hundreds of thousands” of LTE subscribers across 15 LTE markets for all of 2014. These include the U.S., Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Kuwait, Japan, Mexico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and the U.K.

Highlights include:

  • iOS and Android smartphone users surpassed the 10 GB per user per month mark in December 2014 in terms of both Wi-Fi and cellular usage, consuming on average, with iOS consumption slightly higher at 10.9 GB compared to 10.3 GB for Android;
  • Global Wi-Fi consumption on both operating systems represented 80.4 percent of all consumption this month;
  • Android 4G smartphone subscribers averaged 2.4 GB of usage in December 2014—more than double the 1.1 GB of usage that 3G smartphone subscribers averaged that same month;
  • 53 percent of 3G smartphone subscribers and 48 percent of 4G smartphone subscribers used only half or less of their data plan in December 2014.

“It’s fascinating to see LTE continue to drive more cellular data consumption and how subscribers are reacting by purchasing plans that are actually larger than needed,” Mobidia’s SVP of marketing Chris Hill said. “With these findings, it’s not surprising that operators like T-Mobile and AT&T in the U.S. have moved toward roll-over plans. And given the global usage trends that Mobidia’s mega-panel highlights, we expect operators in other regions to move in this same direction.”

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One thought on “Mobidia: Despite High Average 4G Data Usage, Users Buying Bigger Data Plans Than Needed

  1. Three is unique among the big four mobile providers in offering an effectively unlimited 4G data plan. Although the website suggests an upper limit of 1000GB, this is based on the maximum you would physically be able to download in a month if using your phone constantly.

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