Smartphone mobile network data traffic is generally much higher than is being reported, according to a report from Mobidia and Informa Telecoms & Media released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today. Surveying smartphone data consumption across mobile home networks, roaming networks and Wi-Fi networks, Mobidia found that smartphone Wi-Fi data consumption exceeds that for cellular by a factor of 2-to-1, accounting for 70% of overall smartphone traffic.
Measuring cellular-only usage patterns provides an incomplete picture of smartphone users’ data consumption, the two firms noted. Informa’s analysis indicates that cellular-only measurement “can understate smartphone-originated traffic by a factor of several multiples in the world’s most advanced Wi-Fi markets,” according to a joint press release.
“We were quite surprised with the findings,” commented Mobidia Vice President of Marketing Chris Hill. “Not only did we find that data usage on smartphones was much higher than the typical 100-500 megabytes (MBs) average monthly usage that is often cited, but we also found that Wi-Fi usage often outpaced mobile usage by as much as six-to-one in some countries.”
Additional findings in Mobidia and Informa’s whitepaper, “Understanding today’s smartphone user: Demystifying data usage on cellular & Wi-Fi networks,” include:
- Total data usage on smartphones is much higher than generally reported throughout the industry. In fact, the conclusions show that Wi-Fi data consumptions exceeds cellular by a factor of two-to-one and that Wi-Fi accounted for 70 percent of all smartphone-originated traffic within the sampled user base.
- Across the global smartphone user base sampled, 91 percent of smartphone subscribers use Wi-Fi for data usage purposes.
- It is clear that, for an overwhelming majority of smartphone users, Wi-Fi is employed as the primary data connection of choice.
Though mobile data service market participants are capitalizing on rapidly growing mobile data consumption, the market is still in the early stages of its development, and service providers are challenged to keep abreast of consumer trends, commented Informa Principal Analyst Thomas Wehmeier.
“Indeed, mobile data pricing models prevalent in the market today lag years behind the advanced segmentation seen in the mobile voice market,” he stated. “Fulfilling the industry’s future growth potential by driving smartphone and data adoption into today’s untapped customer segments will require operators to build an in-depth understanding of all aspects of customer behavior in order to deploy sustainable and profitable pricing models.”