back to article Official: The smartphones that suck much more than others

3G networks are straining to support the demands of punters as their shiny new smartphones demand more and more information from the internet, says a report by British firm Arieso. iPhone 4S users use twice as much data as iPhone 4 users, and three times as much as iPhone 3G users. Arieso, a mobile network management software …


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  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    History repeating itself?

    "The report also noted that on the day measured 1 per cent of "extreme" users were responsible for 50 per cent of mobile data downloads. Considering that the results included dongle users, it's likely that these will be torrent downloaders on laptops with no-limit internet SIM cards watching films."

    I vaguely remember a network technology that was so advanced that all the vendors started offering unlimited packages and were then "disappointed" to find that customers who had paid for unlimited downloads were downloading a lot.

    But it was a long time ago and I'm sure their experiences have nothing to teach modern mobile network operators.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your probably don't mean just one, do you :)

      Unlimited dialup => limited dialup.

      Unlimited DSL broadband => limited (capped/managed) broadband.

      And probably more.

      Is this just a UK thing where the race for the gutter always seems to win over the race for decent service? Or does it happen in the rest of the world too?

      1. Solomon Emmanuel Goldstien

        Anonymous sez -- "Is this just a UK thing where the race for the gutter always seems to win over the race for decent service? Or does it happen in the rest of the world too?"

        I was under the impression that it was primarily a US thing, particularly with the prices they pay over there. Example: 5 Gb bandwidth = $60USD/mo

        And a few decades ago several tech pundits predicted data usage would be so inexpensive to provide that it would be free before the next century. (*this* being the "next century" they were talking about.)

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Runaway uncontrolled data

    I'd hazard a guess that most of the data consumption is due to crappy email apps downloading the same emails time and time again 24/7 - the majority of users phones are busy downloading data that they really don't need or want about half the time the phone is turned on.

    1. Renato

      Email servers are crappy too.

      My father's ISP email service only recently added support for IMAP and it doesn't support syncing the inbox for just the last 3 days. You have to sync the entire inbox. Thankfully, the WinMo client has a certain limit, and it errors/timeouts before it manages to fetch some 10GBs of email. Cue him spending his 20MB allowance for 1mbps in less than a week, then downloading emails at 64kbps.

      1. Ragarath

        What what?

        I got confused there between you saying IMAP and snching 10GB of data. IMAP will download the headers not the data unless you request it.

        Hence why it downloads the entire inbox. Or was the way your post is worded confusing me and it was using POP3 and you just made a passing reference to them now supporting IMAP?

        And I hope you meant 20GB allowance :)

  3. TheOtherHobbbes


    The cloud-based features are in all iOS5 devices, not just the 4S.

    The only differences between the 4S and the 4 are Siri, a better camera, and an antenna that actually works.

    It's a bit pants if Arieso don't understand this.

    1. Ian 16

      I was under the impression the 4S had a faster radio stack also? tried checking specs but couldn't find anyting to substantiate my claim :P

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Added CDMA and a newer version of Bluetooth, compared to the 4, but not necessarily much speed improvement.

    2. Charles Manning

      Another difference

      Gadget freaks are more likely to be those that queue up to buy the latest phone.

      They are also more likely to play with all the toys and be extreme users.

      Correlation != causation.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Use more data, only fanbois buy the thing, its a basic lack of intelligence.

    They have to keep looking things up because their brains can't process anymore than a kb if information.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      apple fanbois to use the down vote button today!

    2. LarsG


      iPhone 3 users use less than iphone 3s users who use less than iPhone 4 users who use less than iPhone 4s users.

      I see a pattern here.... an increase of dumbing down of the brain with every upgrade!

      By the time the iPhone 10 comes out it will be a free lobotomy with every phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        LOL, ALL CAPS titles = has to be the usual bonehead troll LarsGrumble. Even did his signature AC posts too.

        A lobotomy would actually achieve an improvement on you.

        1. LarsG


          but I can't.

          I am however truly flattered by your rich and amusing comments.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          A guy speaks the truth and he gets labelled a troll eh, where have we seen that before, Syria, Egypt, Germany 1930's, Russia under Stalin?

          The best way to win an argument when you've got no decent point to make, is to get personal is it?

          1. Doogie1

            @ac 8.17

            Now who could it be that posted this message? There must have been a LARGe number of people posting so early on a Sunday morning. We need Sherlock on the case.

            1. Chad H.

              Of course

              Its all brainwashing when they don't buy your chosen brand, not people making rational decisions based on product quality and after sales care - the later something completely unknown to their manufacturers

      2. Doogie1


        "By the time the iPhone 10 comes out it will be a free lobotomy with every phone."

        As such a big iPhone fan you got yours in advance then,eh?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My Missus had the iPhone 3G and stepped up to a 4 and she immediatley noticed how must better the data transmission was on the 4. The 3G is absolute shite for looking anything up online compared the later models so the reason 4 users use more data is because they can unlike the poor 3G user stuck with a poor reception.

    3. PsyWulf
      Thumb Down

      android fan here,still downvoted for stupid comment

  5. Paul Shirley

    cloud syncing getting more pervasive quickly

    With features like automatic movie and photo uploading appearing in Android this is going to get much worse very fast. My phones all have better upload rates than my broadband... well on a good day they do - thanks to O2!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      you have lots of phones, you must be important!

    2. oldredlion

      "My phones all have better upload rates than my broadband"

      Shirley you can't be serious?

      1. Matthew 3

        Those of us who live outside cities quite regularly find mobile data speeds far in excess of rural broadband's capabilities.

        But I only have the one mobile. Maybe this correspondent is aggregating the results from several devices?

        1. Paul Shirley

          Maybe this poster is a dev and keeps phones for testing... ;)

          ...and the wife likes to have one herself which get's lumped into that list!

      2. phatstorage

        maybe a terrible isp or maybe collectively.

        Don't think my phone will get near 1.6MB/s anytime soon, so my broadband has nothing to worry about from a single phone.

        But with "phones", hmm, all tied together, maybe.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge


          Congrats, at only a few miles from downtown LA my old Time Warner "broadband" could be handily beaten in either direction by a good ISDN line most days. The new Verizon line is much better on the download but an ISDN would still beat it on upload speeds. Needless to say, I don't voip much over the "broadband" and do most of it over the t-mob data link.

  6. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I don't download much at all with my HTC Desire - mainly because I'm nearly always within range of a WAP when I'm downloading. I do upload quite a bit though - I push my photos to my FTP server when out and about and send the occasional email.

    1. Thomas 4


      If I was going to pick a phone that would probably have a high upload/download, I'd have gone with the Xperia Play. Most of the games for it are in the x00 mB range.

  7. James 100

    @oldredlion: Not entirely surprising: some ADSL packages have truly dismal upload performance, while mobile broadband seems to have much less of a gap between up and download. A few hundred K each way wouldn't be a surprising 3g service, but fast enough to match Paul's description.

    I imagine the 3g/4/4s distinction is more to do with the age and usage pattern - serious heavy users are much more likely to upgrade or to buy the newest model, while less serious users will either stick to an older handset or buy the cheaper one new. I just passed my old 3g on to my mother, which she'll use for occasional email checking and not much else. Getting her a 4s would have been silly, but a 3g could be justified.

    Even with the same usage pattern, the better camera will boost data traffic a bit: a tourist taking 100 photos on a 4s will mean more data than the same 100 photos on a 3g, just because of the extra resolution. Same with streaming video, I think, the 4s will take a higher res stream if available.

    Then there's tethering - Three and O2 allow that for no charge on at least some plans, which wasn't the case for older handsets/plans; anyone who hasn't upgraded won't have that facility.

  8. Zack Mollusc

    Heh, I am in my front room in Leeds. Using I see

    Virgin media broadband (with no other devices using it) : Download 6.02 Upload 0.474

    Samsung Gaylaxy 2 on O2 with 2 bar of receptions and H : Download 2.16 Upload 0.670

    How am I supposed to upload hi-def images of my fingerprints, passport and birth certificate to FaceBook?

    Hasn't Mr Branston heard of the clouds ?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Hasn't Mr Branston heard of the clouds ?"

      No, but he does make an exceedingly good pickle

      1. Ivan Headache

        Ah, But his pickle

        is not as good as it was when I were a lad.

        1. BorkedAgain

 good as it were...

          I think you mean...

  9. Ilgaz

    Everyday dialogues

    -don't you have unlimited data plan?

    -no Sir, otherwise everyone would watch hd videos, streaming! Our network would collapse, you can't even dial emergency (liars, emergency had own dedicated bandwidth)

    -so why does cheapest phone have 7.2 Mbps data capability?

    -for faster web page loads

  10. Davidoff

    Breaking News: smartphones are used in the way as intended by the phones' designers

    Users of latest smart phones are downloading more than users of older smartphones. What a surprise - NOT.

    Another great example of corporate idiocy: convince customers the latest handset for which there are even more apps and cloud services, and then be surprised if the devices are used as intended.

    The same ignorance has (and still is!) already been demonstrated by ISPs, which promote their 'unlimited' broadband as perfect for watching moves or downloading stuff, but when customers take them by their word they are surprised about the amount of traffic.

    Corporate idiots.

    1. Lallabalalla

      Idiots indeed

      Massive fail between marketing - "What can we say that will sell the most phones and make the most profit?" and engineering - "Now that we've sold all these phones that can utilise the "unlimited" bandwidth, where are all our profits going?"


      Reminds me of certain service-based charities, whose management never seem to realise that the more work you do - the more services you perform for more "customers" - the more money you SPEND, which is the exact opposite of any ordinary business.

  11. William Boyle

    Ubiquitous mobile communications

    Let's face it - mobile has become the DSL/Cable internet and preferred communication medium for the 21st century. This is not going to change, and the mobile broadband providers need to get on-board with this, providing better/unlimited connectivity, bandwidth, and throughput at reasonable costs to the end-user. Those that get this, and provide such to the consuming public, will be the ones that survive the rest of this decade/century.

    That said, I just started work as Senior Systems/Performance Engineer for a tier-one mobile phone company and we are providing phones that consume 1/10 the data used by other smart phones when browsing the web, or utilizing web applications. The cost for such efficiencies are on us since our server farms do all the page fetching/processing/image rendering and then just send screen update commands to the phone. This sort of technology will help reduce the network load, but since we expect to sell another billion smart phones with this technology in the next couple of years... :-)

  12. Andus McCoatover

    The smartphones that suck much more than others

    My N8 sucks.

    I don't even use it for the Internet.

    1. irish donkey

      N8 was a great phone untill

      Anna installed and messed everything up.

      way to go Nokia!

  13. M Gale

    This study commissioned by...

    ...the Campaign to Charge More for an Infinite Resource?

    Yes, yes, I know there's only so much of that resource available at once, but then ISPs shouldn't be oversubscribing their networks, should they?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "ISPs shouldn't be oversubscribing their networks, should they?"

      "oversubscribing" is an interesting term.

      If you want dedicated bandwidth not shared with anyone else, you can have it, no risk of oversubscribing but it will cost more than the vast majority are willing to pay.

      On the other hand if the bandwidth is shared to make the price come back to the realms of affordability, what all users see (in performance terms) can be affected by the behaviour of a tiny minority of megamickeytakers, e.g. the ones who think they've paid for a licence to max out the service 24x7.

      It doesn't matter whether the underlying technology is dialup or ADSL or VDSL or FTTH, bandwidth costs money, and more bandwidth costs more money.

      OK the "unlimited" description wasn't helpful either, but from the point of view of maybe 90% of the punters on a typical ISP, it was effectively unlimited.

      No I don't work for an ISP or indeed for anyone in the industry, but on a good day I can do sums.

      Let the downvotes from mickeytakers begin.

      1. M Gale

        "the ones who think they've paid for a licence to max out the service 24x7."

        Yes, yes they have. Virgin slow you down to a "paltry" 2mbit from 10mbit if you download several gigabytes worth over a couple of hours during peak times, and the throttle lasts for all of 24 hours, but you're still given truly unlimited access with no extra charges and no "sorry, you've exceeded your traffic allowance for the month". Still plenty of bandwidth to do most things outside of 1080p, high def video streaming. For some reason they seem to get more stick for this than the ISPs that just either cut you off or add extra to your bill for daring to download a few gigs over a connection that can do just that in minutes. If you're penalised for that, then that's the ISP massively oversubscribing the network to the point where they can't handle more than a few users doing what they've paid to do.

        And while bandwidth as in the total amount of data per second that can be transmitted can cost money to upgrade, bandwidth itself costs nothing. Paying network engineers costs money, regardless of how many bits go through the cable. Laying fibre costs money, regardless of how many bits go through the cable. Once it's in, the costs are effectively zilch and your workers eat up far more money being paid to maintain it all. A nice steady cost, dealt with by a nice monthly fee, and bollocks to charging people per megabyte.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Carrier-class routers, free with every IPv6 packet

          Dear Mr/Mrs Gale,

          For the benefit of readers who might be involved in running ISPs, or understanding how ISPs actually work, can you please post here the details of the zero-cost carrier-class infrastructure boxes (routers, switches, cable gear, etc) and their suppliers, since this appears to be a subject which you appear so knowledgeable about?

          We'd love to see them.

          1. M Gale

            Ooh, sarcasm.

            I didn't say it costs nothing to build a network; quite the opposite in fact. However per-megabyte, the running costs of those carrier class routers and switches is so insignificant as to be nothing. The cost of the maintenance crew is far more, and doesn't go up when Joe Sixpack decides to download 10 gigabytes of high def pr0n.

            Nobody is saying ISPs shouldn't make money, but I do think that charging per megabyte when ther is no magical reservoir of 1s and 0s to run out and no Peak Data catastrophe looming, is a rather crappy thing to do. And yes, that's directed at the ISPs' upstream providers, too.

            I don't need to know the ins and outs of the money markets to know that pay day loan companies are largely sharks. I don't need to know the cost of a router to know the cost of a binary digit. Neither do you.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "The cost doesn't go up when Joe Sixpack decides to download [maxed out amount]"

              Other people's performance goes right down though when even a small number of people choose to max out their service at the same time for a noticeable amount of time, UNLESS the operator spends an unlimited amount of money installing an unlimited amount of bandwidth to cope with the unlimited mickeytakers.

              Just ask the customers and operators of any ISP that has tried to operate an "unlimited" service at an apparently affordable price. The news pages of ThinkBroadband used to regularly feature ISPs first offering bargain "unlimited" packages and then a few months later collapsing as the hordes moved in en masse.

              True uncontended unlimited 1:1 ISP services are available, if that's what you want, but they cost hundreds of pounds a month, not a tenner or three.

              Whether any of us like it or not, there is no "unlimited" bandwidth, not on 3G, not on LTE, nowhere. Ten years of mass market broadband in the UK says you're missing the point, and a couple of years of actually-limited "unlimited" on 3G and beyond will just prove it.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @AC 12:46

                Or should I call you ISP troll,

                M Gale's point is that

                1) ISPs advertise unlimited connections which aren’t, if other people's broadband performance is gong down, whose fault is that? The heavy user or the ISP who sold a product they can’t deliver?

                2) The cost of laying a cable is a once off capital cost, the cost of keeping it in the ground is zero (yeah yeah, I know, depreciation, planning for replacement, replacement when the gas company dig it up etc.) but the point is, it costs the same regardless of the traffic that it is carrying.

                Me; I have a un-contended 1:1 connection with a 50GB limit that I struggle to use every month, and a very generous telephone call allowance, all for 59.00 a month, dunno what you are talking about unlimited 1:1 connections costing hundreds every month.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  AC 12:46 here (not now, and never have been, an ISP troll - the idiot ISPs advertising "unlimited" and getting away with it are as big a problem as the mickeytakers).

                  "it costs the same regardless of the traffic that it is carrying."

                  it only costs the same till enough mickeytakers move in and cause significant congestion somewhere along the way, which is bad news for all users, not just the mickeytakers. So what happens when the network gets congested? The ISP either spends a fortune on more kit, which won't usually be a permanent solution unless other changes are made too, or applies some form of traffic management (or capped tariffs), or enough heavy-usage punters leave because the service is abysmal (thereby eventually removing the congestion and fixing the problem).

                  Are you familiar with Entanet at all? You might want to enquire about what happened to them when they went "unlimited" at an out-of-line price. Random name, plenty others have made the same mistake.

                  "I have a un-contended 1:1 connection with a 50GB limit"

                  Based on other parts of your comment, you don't have an uncontended 1:1 connection.

                  By definition, uncontended 1:1 connnections do not have limits.

                  By definition, connections with limits (such as the 50GB you mention) are not uncontended 1:1.

                  In the real world, £59/month services are not 1:1 uncontended (not for long anyway).

                  Go away, try to understand the difference between (a) 1:1 dedicated bandwidth which is expensive and not mass market and (b) contended bandwidth which is a whole lot cheaper (because it's shared ie contended) and only runs flat out till enough mickeytakers move in.

                  Someone round here definitely doesn't know what they're talking about.

            2. DragonLord

              And how do you think these companies cover the cost of laying and providing all of this stuff? Don't you think that this should be added to the nominal "Cost/MB" on their lines?


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