updated 11:25 am EDT, Fri June 17, 2011
Nielsen shows data use up, cost down
New Nielsen studies on Friday showed that mobile data use was growing rapidly even as the cost of it was staying the same or going down. Mobile data use was up 89 percent on average in early 2011 from 230MB a month a year earlier to 435MB today. Since most data plans were either staying the same or dropping down in price due to caps, the price per megabyte had actually been cut almost in half, down 46 percent to eight cents.
Data use was especially high among power users, whose usage spiked from 1.8GB in early 2010 to 4.6GB just 12 months later. Internet media streaming, hotspots and other more intensive apps have become popular in the past year and were likely the main reasons.
Android was still the biggest data consumer, the researchers said. A typical user of the Google platform chews 582MB per month where an iPhone user uses 492MB. The gap wasn't explained but may be dictated by greater use of multitasking and background updating than on iOS.
Windows Phone 7 users have seen the fastest rise in data use, more than doubling their use from 149MB to 317MB in just one season. Its surging app count, which went from just a few thousand at most in November to over 20,000 this spring, may have been a primary factor. BlackBerry users still had the lowest use at 127MB, owing both to the phone's inherent data compression but also its rougher experiences outside of messaging.