smartphone researchMobile operators across the U.S., Canada, Germany, Korea, Japan, and the U.K. – which account for over 90% of global subscribers – are benefiting from LTE deployments, according to the latest update to Mobidia Technology and Informa’s white paper series, “Understanding Today’s Smartphone Users.”

Analyzing data gathered over 8 months from August 2012-April 2013, the market research partners found that LTE is having “a positive impact for the more than 100 mobile operators that have deployed LTE.” Results also revealed the extent to which smartphone subscribers rely on Wi-Fi networks, “especially those using heavy data-consuming applications, such as video.”

The results, according to Mobidia and Informa, “could represent both a threat and opportunity for the mobile operators.”

Highlights of their analysis include:

  • In all markets, LTE subscribers are buying more large data plans from the mobile operators. In Canada, for example, more than 21 percent of LTE subscribers are on 5-10GB plans while only 14 percent of 3G subscribers are purchasing those plans.
  • LTE subscribers are using less Wi-Fi than 3G subscribers. In April 2013, Wi-Fi represented 67 percent of all data usage for LTE subscribers versus 72 percent of the 3G subscribers. Nevertheless, growth of Wi-Fi usage by all subscribers during this time outpaced both 3G and LTE data usage growth.
  • Wi-Fi continues to be a critical network for smartphone users. In aggregate across these six markets, Wi-Fi data consumption represented more than 70 percent of total data used on a smartphone and is growing faster than cellular usage.
  • Apps that subscribers value while mobile, such as Google Maps, or that subscribers want all the time and everywhere, such as Facebook, were used more by 4G subscribers. However, data-hungry apps, such as music services, actually saw a drop of usage over the cellular networks and an increase on Wi-Fi networks, indicated an increase in reliance on Wi-Fi and increased user sophistication.


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