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Study: Android users chew much more data than iPhone owners

updated 04:25 pm EST, Wed December 8, 2010

Arieso says Android data use double iPhone

Android users are much more data hungry than their iPhone counterparts, Arieso said in a new study. Using the iPhone 3G as the baseline, Android was often more demanding for traffic in both directions. The Samsung Galaxy S would upload as much as 126 percent more data where an HTC Desire would often download 41 percent more.

The iPhone 4 used more as well, downloading 41 percent more data and getting online both 41 percent more often and 67 percent longer on average. However, it was still relatively miserly compared to the Android phones covered, which also included the Nexus One and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10.

The Blackberry Bold 9700 was included in the study but didn't have its figures published. BlackBerry phones have usually consumed less, since most BlackBerry Internet Service data is compressed. Gaps between the most economic and most data hungry smartphones could vary as much as 40 percent for downloads and 130 percent for uploads, Arieso said.

CTO Michael Flanagan argued that the discrepancy was due to more aggressive hardware upgrades on Android phones than on the iPhone, focusing most on cameras. Apple releases one phone a year and has regularly centered on the quality of the camera sensor over resolution, only just reaching five megapixels and 720p video in June. HTC, Motorola, Samsung and others either started on similar features earlier or stepped up to eight megapixels, increasing the average file sizes of photos and videos.

Regardless of manufacturer, Arieso helped support beliefs that phone users were much more concerned with data than voice. Voice traffic was roughly flat, but data use has gone up. The feature is now more important on phones than calling.

The data may further salt a wound to AT&T, which placed last in US carrier ranks as part of a Consumer Reports study. It has had trouble coping with 3G demand on its network ever since the iPhone 3G shipped in 2008 and is still having trouble, albeit mitigated, with more efficient iPhone use today. Verizon is still relatively new to the smartphone boom, only having taken off in earnest when it picked up Android in late 2009, but has had an easier time coping with network demand even with more aggressive use on its network.

AT&T has countered that it typically handles about half of the mobile data traffic in the US, but the concentration by city and the relative use per person are also considered important factors.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Salty

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jul 2005


    Could also be...

    I would also guess that for some Android users they don't have apps that connect to web services so graphics are more often redownloaded, and what not where as a lot of apps only have to update their text.

  1. azrich

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010


    I cant' resist it

    It's all that bloated FLASH they are watching!!!


    How long has it been available? I'm wondering if it's just new gear syndrome. I don't have an iPhone, just an iPod touch and an iPad so I can't really relate.


  1. jamck1977

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2010


    I'm sure the data is useful

    @azrich - I think you have a point - I used data often my unlocked iPhone on T-mobile often in the beginning. Two months ago I dropped data completely and haven't missed it except for updating the weather forecast. I think that this data is less demonstrative of the users in the long run and more indicative of the newness of the users to the technology. I'll bet that previous iPhone 3G users who have switched to android us much less data than android users new to data plans. Either way, AT&T apparently can't handle the data as well Verizon

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009




  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    Android malware...

    perhaps it all those apps secretly sending off private info or downloading addtitional apps without the owners knowledge.

  1. TRRosen

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2002



    Without iTunes for syncing android users are much more dependent on the airwaves for content.

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