According to a report recently released by NPD, the average owner of a smartphone based in the United States now use up a total of 31.4 gigabytes of data each month. NPD’s numbers take into account data consumption on both cellular and Wi-Fi networks. More significantly, the 31.4 gigabytes of data consumed represent a 25 percent increase compared to the previous year’s monthly data consumption.
Industry watchers generally believe that the popularity of unlimited data plans in America are largely to blame for the remarkable increase in data consumption among mobile users. As warned by Brad Akyuz, director and industry analyst at NPD’s Connected Intelligence, unlimited data plans have increasingly become the default offering among wireless carriers in the country. This focus on unlimited data has caused more consumers to shift to unlimited plans in order to take full advantage of unlimited access to data on cellular networks. As a result, more and more people are getting connected to cellular as opposed to looking for a Wi-Fi network, thereby placing some pressure on wireless service providers to make sure their networks can handle all that load, while at the same time, manage the possible network congestions.
As indicated in the Smartphone and Tablet Usage report from NPD’s Connected Intelligence, cellular data usage on unlimited plans is now 67 percent higher compared to that of limited plans. It goes without saying that consumers who avail of limited plans naturally go for Wi-Fi connections instead of cellular when using up data. Interestingly, NPD’s information shows that iOS users are likely to consume more cellular data than Android users, who prefer Wi-Fi data more.
Much of the growth in data consumption can be attributed to the fact that more and more people are streaming video content now than ever. NPD says that video streaming accounts for 83 percent of the total data usage. During Q3 2017, two thirds of all American smartphone owners have accessed video on mobile, increasing from the 57 percent recorded during Q2 2017.
It is not just Americans registering increases in data usage -- per Strategy Analytics’ newest report, global mobile data traffic has grown a mind blowing 115 percent year over year. This is partly because of the surge of unlimited data subscriptions in big mobile markets such as China and India. In China alone, mobile traffic has increased 166 percent during the third quarter of 2016 compared to the previous year’s.
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