updated 06:45 pm EDT, Tue August 10, 2010
US smartphone users now up to 230MB per month
Data use on a typical US smartphone has shot up 50 percent in just half a year, a newly published study by analyst Chetan Sharma has discovered. In the first half of 2010, the average bandwidth used climbed to 230MB, or enough to eclipse AT&T's cheaper plan introduced at the very end of the period. The usage is some of the heaviest in the world, as Japan and Korea have further 3G reach but use it significantly less.
The US as a result has become "ground zero" for data use in the world and is a testbed for policies around how to keep data in check, Sharma said.
His findings support notions that Android and iPhone are controlling data use in the US. The iPhone's current exclusive home, AT&T, and Android-favorite Verizon both make up 75 percent of American data use. Beliefs that Android uses more data may be true as Verizon consumes a slightly larger amount despite fewer active Droid users.
The research also notes that providers can't yet make an argument for rate hikes or other limits to expansion. Revenue from data was up six percent just between winter and spring, and 22 percent versus a year ago. Based on existing trends, Sharma expects data revenue to overrun declining voice revenue by spring 2013, just as AT&T, Verizon and most major American carriers will have finished rolling out 4G networks. [via BBR]