updated 10:14 pm EST, Wed January 22, 2014
Finds iPhone 5s owners use 20 percent more than even iPhone 5 owners
A study that compared how much more cellular data is being consumed by smartphone buyers than back when the first of the "modern" 3G smartphones -- the iPhone 3G -- came out in 2008 has found that use has gone up an average of around 600 percent in developed markets, and around 10-fold in developing markets. The report, by network tech firm JDSU, concluded that Apple's iOS devices lead the charge on downloading, taking six of the top 10 "hungriest" positions.
The rise is attributable to a number of factors, including relatively stable pricing for cellular data consumption, far faster speeds and wider coverage, faster phones and more willingness by owners to go beyond phone service and basic apps -- the latter resulting in a trend where mobile devices have largely supplanted traditional desktop and notebook PCs for typical daily tasks. Flagship and "premium" smartphones and iPads tended to take the top spots in terms of data use, with the iPhone 5s topping the list for downloading -- while the fourth-generation iPad (the most recent model at the time of the survey) took second place in both downloading and uploading.
The HTC Sensation, third in downloading, was tops in uploading use of cellular data in developed markets. Uploading data is mostly in the form of sharing pictures and video or other large files to websites, cloud services or other users.
Apple's iPhones and iPads took most of the top 10 slots, including fifth place (behind the Sony Xperia SP in fourth), sixth, seventh and eighth. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S II rounded out the top 10 in downloading. For uploading, Android phones dominated, with the Galaxy S4 in third, the HTC Desire S in fourth, the iPhone 5 and 5s in fifth and sixth respectively, the Sony Xperia T in seventh, the HTC one in eighth, the S II in ninth and the iPhone 5c rounding out the list. The 5c was ranked sixth in downloading, comparable to the original iPhone 5.
While Android is more popular than iOS in most developing markets, when it comes to user engagement as measured by downloading and uploading, the picture is quite different. With the exception of the Galaxy S4 in third place, Apple's iPhones took nearly all of the top seven slots, with the iPhone 5s again at the top, followed by the third-generation iPad (again in second place for both downloading and uploading). The iPhone 5c was the least-used for downloading, falling behind the iPhone 4, among Apple's entries in developing markets.
The Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 rounded out the top 10 in downloading in the developing-market survey. The Tab was the only non-iPad tablet to appear anywhere in the ratings. When it comes to uploading use, the Galaxy S4 took the top spot, but Apple held positions at second, fifth, sixth, seventh and tenth. Interestingly, the iPhone 5s came in last in the category, compared to its first-place win in uploading in developed markets. All of the non-Apple top uploading and downloading models in the developing markets belonged to Samsung, an illustration of its tight grip on emerging markets.
The survey was conducted by measuring the daily data use of one million subscribers in a top-tier but unnamed European market along with another million subscribers in an unnamed developing market, covering more than 150 different devices. The iPhone 5s' quick ascension to the top of the charts alongside other top competitors is likely due to their greater use of LTE networks, which allow significantly faster downloads and thus more opportunity to download further.
In developing markets, iPhone 5s downloading increased 20-fold during its brief period of availability, a rise of around 50 percent from the iPhone 5's use pattern. Developed market data growth, as measured by the iPhone 5s, was a more modest 20 percent.