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
        Mushroom

        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
    Facepalm

    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
      FAIL

      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

    Er...

    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
      Alert

      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.

        http://www.apple-history.com/compare/iphone_4s/iphone_4

    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

    OF COURSE APPLE IPHONE USERS....

    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

      A BIG CHANCE FOR...

      apple fanbois to use the down vote button today!

    2. LarsG

      COULD IT REALLY BE?

      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
        Trollface

        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

          I'D LOVE TO TAKE ALL THE CREDIT...

          but I can't.

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

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Trolling

          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
            Holmes

            @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

        @LarsG

        "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

      WOW

      you have lots of phones, you must be important!

    2. oldredlion
      Happy

      "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
        Trollface

        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

          @phatstorage

          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

      Surprising

      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
    FAIL

    Heh, I am in my front room in Leeds. Using http://www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk/ 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
      Coat

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

      No, but he does make an exceedingly good pickle

      1. Ivan Headache
        Unhappy

        Ah, But his pickle

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

        1. BorkedAgain
          Headmaster

          ...as 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
    FAIL

    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?"

      Duh!

      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
    Windows

    The smartphones that suck much more than others

    My N8 sucks.

    I don't even use it for the Internet.

    1. irish donkey
      Unhappy

      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?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's no mention of the data usage used by free apps with adware. May not be much for one phone, but it all adds up with millions of phones of all types.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charge by the MB... and let the market sort it out

    Of course, for that to be effective, we are going to need to enforce that cell phones are unlocked and truly portable to any carrier. We also need to have enough cell phone companies to make sure they can't collude. And we also need tight consumer controls for data - people should be notified if they (or their kids) will go over a preset limit.

    1. M Gale

      Wow...

      ...goodbye Youtube. Goodbye lovefilm. Goodbye netflix. Goodbye photobucket, facebook, and a million other bandwidth-intensive sites if ISPs all shifted to charging people per unit of an infinite resource. Do you know how many megabytes a high-def youtube vid of a few minutes long is?

      1. Magnus_Pym

        Wow?

        <sarcasm> That would be like if the electricity company started charging per KwH. Goodbye Air Conditioning and Hot Tubs if that where to happen!</sarcasm>

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        My mobile allocation is 500Mb/month

        It makes you aware of just how much data is flying around. It makes you angry that you can't easily tell in-app-adverts to piss off, ditto Motoblur syncing again when nothing has changed (there is Data Saver, but that kills rss updates). And it makes you realise that it isn't so bad to listen on a phone on the go to a 24kbit AAC stream because you'll get a nasty shock after a couple of hours of 192kbit mp3! I'm just glad there isn't also stuff like anti virus updates and the like going on too.

        FWIW, referring to other posts, my ADSL is at the end of 4.4km of wire and it offers 2mbit/256kbit. I can stand in the field and my phone will deliver 2.4/1.8mbit.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iOS synching?

    I was under the impression that iOS only syncs anything of a substantial size to the cloud (photos etc.) when you are connected to a wifi network? I thought it was only small things like contacts, calendars and notes that are synched over 3G.

    Anyone know if this is true?

    1. Colin Wilson 2
      Gimp

      Apple like to make their products flexible and give their customers choice ;)

      So it's an option. Settings/Music/Use Cellular Data, and Settings/Store/Use Cellular Data

      1. jubtastic1

        It's off by default

        And most users will never look for or find the switch.

  17. Wile E. Veteran
    Devil

    What do the operators expect

    Don't know about the UK, but here in the US virtually _every_ advertisement for smartphones emphasises the use of the device for streaming media (TV & movies) which requires huge bandwidth to accomplish. Streaming media = high data usage, period.

    Add in the fact Siri is primarily a network-based application, relying on Apple's servers to do most of the "natural language" processing and you have another high-bandwidth user.

    iPhone or Android or ?? does not matter -- it is the media apps and natural-language assistants which cause the consumption.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Net neutrality

    so... does Net Neutrality mean that 1% of mobile downloaders (movie watchers / filesharers) are shafting the online experience of the other 99% of us?

    (Excuse my ignorance please. Just asking.)

    1. M Gale

      You're confused.

      Net Neutrality means that packets from youtube.com are given the same priority as packets from yourprivateserver.yourdomain.com, not that you aren't penalised for raping the shit out of somebody's network or that some types of traffic aren't prioritised for QoS reasons. The idea is that you're paying for a pipe that you shove X amount of bits per second over and you shouldn't be double-charged for "premium access" to various sections of the Internet, or told by AT&T that you can pay them lots of money on top of your hosting bills and they'll make sure the packets from your server gets to their customers ahead of other servers.

      Basically, proponents of net neutrality would like to pay for X amount of connectivity to the Internet and everything on it. Opponents of net neutrality would like to charge you separately for access to Skype, Youtube, Facebook, you get the idea.

      Nowt to do with heavy users, but a good attempt to charge people multiple times for the same thing.

  19. Paul 87

    There's an alternative conclusion to draw, that people who are drawn to most heavily using the Internet prefer iPhones or HTC phones, and also prefer the newer technology. Much more likely than the phones themselves being responsible for the increase in the use of data.

  20. dct
    FAIL

    Statistics 101: Correlation is not causality.

    Could it simply be that heavy users are also the people most likely to upgrade? They have a 4s BECAUSE they're heavy users, rather than being heavy users because they have a 4s?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad Science

    Correlation not Causation

    Given that the majority of data app with the exception of Siri are iOS 5 not iPhone 4s specific you could equally theorize that

    1) Heavy data users are the ones that upgrade the most

    2) People use more data when their phone is new as they are playing with all the features

    1. Paul Shirley

      ...or I could theorise that the ones able to afford a shiny new 'this years model' iPhone are also the ones able to afford to pay for lots of data.

      'cause if you're not hammering it on giffgaff or "3", data use can involve a 2nd mortgage in the UK - I assume its not much better elsewhere.

  22. Andy Baird

    Headline FAIL

    So let me get this straight--a product makes it so easy to access the internet that owners actually put it to use... and in Leach's opinion that means the product "sucks" and deserves to be "shamed"? Sounds like AT&T's whining circa 2008: "Of course our network is bogged down--we never expected that iPhone owners would actually *use* the internet features we advertised!" Uh huh.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Android sucks

    Smartphones -- meh. I've had mine since last summer and I hate it. Its such an attention vampire. That and its equally sucky battery life.

    I'm going back to a £10 dumbphone from Tesco.

  24. gerdesj Silver badge

    Re: My Android sucks

    @Craiggy ... well use it as a vacuum cleaner then.

  25. Silverburn
    Boffin

    Possible cause

    Maybe the "report crashes to apple" bug caused massive increases in data usage for 4s users? Be interesting to see results post 5.0.1 which supposedly fixed it.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I don't knwhere they are checking their data, but in my area you will never get to download a movie. Verizons 3G is slightly faster than dialup and their 4G is nonexistent. We call it a myth, kinda like bigfoot and the loch nest monster.Just go look up complaints for Verizions 4G and it will make you think twice about using it (if it even exist).

    1. Simon Buttress

      Loch Nest

      WTF?!

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "1% of the users consume 50% of the data"

    This statistic only makes sense if there's a long tail of users that consume next-to-zero data (e.g. my wife on a grandfathered 6 GB iPhone plan and using between 0 and 2 MB per month). Perhaps 50% of the users consume 1% of the data. Then the "1%" is actually more like 10% to 15% of the "actual" users (as opposed to the money-for-nothing almost-inactive subscribers). Then the usage patterns come into a more rational ratio where these "1%" folks are actually consuming several (maybe ten, maybe even 20) times the "normal" usage pattern (excluding the next-to-zeroes). In other words, the headline is accurate but misleading.

    Once upon a time, we were told that "UNLIMITED" dongle data means "Less Than 6GB", and that anything more than that was cause for account cancellation. The lying cheating telco eventually paid for about an acre of tropical paradise. Thank you Mr. Telco!

  29. PaulR79

    Figures we can use please. Throwing around information such as, "HTC Desire S users typically shifted out 3.23 times as much data as iPhone 3G users." means nothing if you don't know how much data an iPoop 3G user consumes (in this survey). Of course I'm taking this to mean that the figures aren't what you'd call high but saying "OMG IT'S THREE TIMES MORE THAN THE 3G!" is more sensational than saying it uses 300MB a month compared to 100MB. Remember that most UK networks think 500MB is more than enough for a modern smartphone over the month.

    One other thing that seemed to me like pointless information was saying Nokia and BlackBerry users use less data than their counterparts. Nokia and BlackBerry phones don't come across as the most user friendly phones and haven't for quite a while. I don't know about BlackBerry but Nokia phones have been awful for a number of years now and I used to love their phones. It feels like saying a netbook owner won't watch as much HD video as someone with a mid-range laptop.

  30. Richard 51
    Facepalm

    And the point of the story is ?

    Its the mobile networks that promote these smartphones, they spend millions figuring out their complex offerings so that no one can figure out what they are being charged for. They are the ones who sell "unlimited" packages which they immediately limit as soon as someone actually uses the service.

    Frankly I have no sympathy for these muppets and look forward to using my HTC Desire as much as possible. Except that 2 out of the 5 networks don't actually work in my local pub (i am in the middle of a city) for data and only 1 bar of voice. So when are they going to invest some of their vast profits in improving the network.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confusion is a good source of income for some

    Web designer says (something like) "5% of internet usage is iPhone so you need (me to build you) an iPhone compatible website". What he doesn't say is that only a tiny % of that usage is looking at websites, it's email, apps, data syncing, music and video downloads...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I was under the impression that iOS only syncs anything of a substantial size to the cloud (photos etc.) when you are connected to a wifi network? I thought it was only small things like contacts, calendars and notes that are synched over 3G."

    With the new iTunes Match service you can have your whole music library in the cloud so (if you choose) you can download / stream music over 3G (or wifi).

    It also have the facility to auto-download new music, apps, books etc. you purchase from the store to all your devices. Good features but if you enable it over 3G (off by default I believe) it could potentially use quite a bit of traffic.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The networks should stop offering 'unlimited' plans are they are not realistic - does your electricity company give you unlimited electricity for a fixed cost?

    They should stamp down on the 1% of offenders who are increasing the cost / reducing the speed for the rest of us - it's hardly 'fair' 1% should consume 50% of the bandwidth and be subsidised by the 99% of other users.

    1. M Gale

      Your electricity company...

      ...pays a hell of a lot more to generate a kilowatt-hour than it does to send bits flying around a wire. If the costs were as negligible as sending a megabyte of data, I'd call their actions reprehensible too.

      People don't seem to realise this, and some masochists seem to actually welcome the idea of paying per unit of an infinite resource.

      Fools.

      1. M Gale

        While I'm here...

        ...back when water was supplied by public-owned companies, you would pay "rates" based on the size of your house. A fixed monthly cost, because the cost to purify water is negligible and, from what I'm aware, it was actually illegal to charge for water. You could charge for purifying it and delivering it to your house via pipes, but not for the water itself. This law also stung restaurants who could not charge for a glass of water (although they could charge a nominal fee for the rent of the glass, etc).

        I'd like anybody to try and tell me that the modern state of affairs is any better. Paying per cubic metre? All new houses fitted with water meters by law? Yeah, that one was sneaked through on the back of a hot Summer with hosepipe bans. People were convinced that it would be good to be a masochist and vote for price gouging, because it would prevent hosepipe bans in the future!

        Except it, err, hasn't. At all.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If 1% are using 50% of the traffic then everyone else is effectively paying more than they need to for the data they use.

    It's an over-simlified view but potentially get rid of that 1% and data could be half the price for everyone else.

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