Share this Story

Advances In Smartphones Causing Top 1% Of Mobile Users To Consume Half The World’s Bandwith

An interesting report out of the New York Times today reports that the top percentage of mobile users in the world are consuming a huge amount of the world’s mobile broadband bandwith. Arieso, a company in Newbury, England, that tracks these kinds of statistics for many countries has been documenting the gap and found it is growing. In 2009, the top 3% of users used 40 percent of traffic, now that same group uses almost 70 percent.

The “extreme users” that Arieso describes is a hard group to pin down, and the NYT notes that these lines aren’t drawn along socioeconomic lines, but the company did find that 64% of those users were using wireless laptop cards, a third of them use smartphones and 3% of those users had iPads. One can expect laptop modems to use more data than smartphones but that section of the use is on the rise, and something that network providers like Verizon and AT&T need to be planning for, and have been acting on. This is the reason for the tiered data plans that we all know and love, and it is only going to get worse. Sony Ericsson expects the volume of global mobile data to rise tenfold from 2011 to 2016. With the rise of cloud computing and storage, it certainly looks like that is going to be the case. Are you one of the “extreme users” of your unlimited data plan? Are you the 1%?

Via: NYT

  • 秀年 许


    The exhibit is  called "Picasso to Koons: Artist as
    Jeweler." You probably will 
    recognize the names of
    many of the more than one hundred artists  represented at the barbour
    show. Names like
    Georges Braque, Max Ernst,  Alexander
    Calder and Salvador Dali, Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson and barbour

      One hundred thirty of the rings, necklaces,
    brooches are from the collection of art expert Diane Venet. She helped
    to set  up the exhibit.

      Ms. Venet 
    met French sculptor Bernar Venet about twenty-six years ago. A short
    time  later, he gave her a piece of quilted
    designed as a ring. The ring celebrated the fact that they would soon be  married. Ms. Venet said it was the first
    piece of barbour
    quilted jackets
    artist’s jewelry she had ever had.

      As time 
    passed, Bernar Venet exchanged pieces with mens barbour
    artist friends
    who sometimes created jewelry.  Ms.
    Venet’s personal collection grew and grew, and she decided to exhibit it  with works of barbour
    the other artists.

    Hotchner is the director of the Museum   of Arts and Design. She  says the ladies barbour
    considers jewelry as one of the most important forms of art today. She
    notes  that a piece of jewelry
    kid’s barbour
    is not  just a small version of a sculpture.



  • @CORYK333:disqus Would you like to work from home? Read more here: http://1url.com/pUx and you will find out how to get a nice income every month.

  • Zx10droid

    this is why the days of unlimited are long gone. they are soon going to remove unlimited data from peoples plans that are grandfathered and force you to either go tiered or move to another carrier and sign up for their tiered plan. 

    • Zx10droid

      or begin offering tiered plans with more data included for astronomical prices

  • The bandwidth required to keep up with the growing number of data users is just not possible. We’ll see unlimited data again when the amount of data we use evens out. 🙂

  • SpencerK
  • Ghuegel

    Who are the 1%?  I see much acrimony, and many people making absurd claims because they live in a heavy user bubble, but nobody seems to have real numbers.

    The best I could find with a quick google search was an article from June 2011 (from androidpolice) that puts the top 1% at ~4GB and the top 3% at ~2GB.  This sounds about right to me.

    Anybody know where I can find reliable information on this?

  • Anonymous

    So how much bandwidth does the top 1% use?

  • omg, turns on self YOU are the 1%

  • Rich

    Yeah, and be prepared to get throttled back by VZW too… basally saying your paying outta the butt for a data plan to be unlimited but since your actually using what you pay for, VZW thought It would be nice to you by making your connection slower… and yet you still have to pay for full service when your not getting it… 

  • Anonymous

    What’s funny is that everyone thinks they’re a part of the 1% because they use Google Music, Netflix, Pandora, DropBox, Hulu, NFL Mobile streaming, etc.  Read the comments here – EVERONE uses all of these services!  This increase in bandwidth usage is going to be the norm for people to use the standard functionality of their smartphones over the next few years.  4GB’s is going to be a joke 12 months from now (if it isn’t already).  How do these carriers expect us to NOT to go over the standardized allotted amounts?

    • Anonymous

      Don’t you see? They WANT you to exceed your monthly allotment so they can rape you with overage fees.

      • Anonymous

        Can a brotha at least get some lube?  Oh wait, that’s what rooting and free wifi tethering is for!

  • Anonymous

    If the top 1% use > 10 GBs of data a month then yes, I am in the top 1%.

    You can blame Netflix for that.

  • Masx

    I find it quite feasible and normal to hit 10-20 GB maybe even 30 GB of data per month due to streaming media such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc.

    But what I don’t get is how people go to the 100+ GB.  Are they tethering all their devices and running torrents?  It’s sad to see people brag about doing that… I’m not trying to defend companies but it kills the service for the rest of the consumers if companies decided to change features due to that kind of usage.

    • Anonymous

      I consumed an average of 2GB/month in data on 3G with application downloads, constant data transfers at work, and at least 3/hrs a day streaming music (to and from work) in “high” quality mode. I connected to Wi-Fi at home. On my 4G device, I STILL average 2GB/month of data with the same exact habits, and even additional network usage here and there at home.  People that get these ridiculous data amounts are doing something abnormal – and most likely against the TOS they agreed to. Unless you change your usage habits, 4G does != more data usage, and NORMAL usage does != 10GB+ of data (much less 30GB+) from a CELL PHONE. 32kb = 32kb no matter if you retrieve it fast or slow.

      • Dylan Blom

        I watch youtube videos very often and with lte they automatically stream in hd on my galaxy nexus so my data use almost tripled

  • In order to get the Nexus, I had to start a new account, giving me the 4gb data package for $30. I have been keeping an eye on it, but I don’t think I’m even coming close. 2gb would not have been enough, probably, but I’m projecting around 3gb a month based on the partial month they’re about to bill for, and the one I’ve just started. But then, I don’t live in a 4g area, and I’m on wifi probably 80% of the time.

  • Jonathan Levin

    i use around 100gb per month while tethering to my laptop

  • Anonymous

    Unless you’re doing laptop browsing, I find it hard to believe that you could pull THAT much data.  One month I used Pandora most days for hours each day, and still only pulled a little over 4 GB.

  • Barbacoa

    I AM THE 99% lol

  • QtDL

    So top 1% = extreme users = DL readers? 🙂

  • Bryan Williams

    I’m definitely part of the 1%(aircard on verizon), but my company pays for it so why not.  🙂

  • Finally, I can be considered part of the 1%. Makes me feel like such a big shot.

  • Davros

    I still have unlimited data. I use Pandora a lot. Watch Netflix. Only use tether when I have to, like when my home service goes down. 3 weeks into billing cycle and I’ve used less than a Gb. I figure if I dont abuse it they wont cancel it and put me on a tiered plan.

  • ChrisI

    Verizon alone has made $311.727 MILLION in revenues just since 2008. And that’s not counting AT&T, TMO, Sprint, or any of the other carriers or telecom co’s. Maybe, rather than bitching about “data hogs,” they should use those revenues to…..I don’t know….invest in their business infrastructure. If consumers need the bandwidth, it would be wise to invest in expanding that ability instead of complaining who uses more.  

    • but what were their costs? you can’t look at only revenues to complain about how much they make, that’s intellectually dishonest

      • ChrisI

        They’re still pulling $184 million after costs. Here’s a great idea: take their lobbying and special interest/bribery budgets and put it into infrastructure. Or cut back on shareholder dividends to make their networks better.

        • Anonymous

          Verizon’s pretty much the only cell company that you can’t rip on right now, as they’re the only ones who have provided their users with a widespread LTE network.  There are problems of course, but no other company has even come close to investing what Verizon has in it’s LTE infrastructure.  Their prices are higher, but that’s part of the deal, when you want the fastest speeds, you pay the highest prices.

          • ChrisI

            Totally agree with you, 100%. I am with Sprint right now, but the gf just got the i*hone 4S this holiday on Verizon, and the network is damn fast. I’m just saying that if only 3% of the users take up 70% of the bandwidth, maybe WIDESPREAD tiered data plans aren’t the right response for ALL consumers. If VZN, ATT, TMO, Sprint, and the other minor carriers invested in infrastructure instead of lobbying, excessive comp packages, and stupid/useless marketing campaigns (aside: no marketing for Binoic or Nexus? WTF?), this article wouldn’t need to be written in the first place. There would be enough bandwidth to do whatever needs consumers have. “B”‘s comment above sounds a lot like how private health insurance companies value their customers and avoid doing their job when need be. Sorry, these mega-corp’s are out of control. And if I’m not mistaken, I see CONSTANT threads by Kellex on this site about VZN’s LTE going out of service quite often.

          • Blootzm3

            verizon doesn’t have the fastest speed any more, so why are we paying more.

          • Anonymous

            Verizon actually does, the other networks just don’t have enough people on their networks yet slowing the speeds down.  

            Also, it will take 3-5 years for any other company to get the 4g coverage Verizon has as of now.

            I’m no Verizon fanboy, I think they charge too much despite their 4g coverage, but this is just the truth.

          • Chad Ramey

            verizon has the best network and they know it….you pay for what you get

        • While that would be great for us, what’s their motivation for doing so? They’re already #1, making an absurd amount of money with their current game plan.

          • ChrisI

            LiderC – “Their prices are higher, but that’s part of the deal, when you want the fastest speeds, you pay the highest prices.”

            Thand – “They’re already #1, making an absurd amount of money with their current game plan.”

            So……are they making absurd amounts of money because they’re the best, or because they’re ripping customers off on plan prices? I must be missing the point in needing to have network speeds of 40-60mbps and paying 1.5x that of other carriers. And then VZN complains when “people are taking up too much bandwidth.” You charge more money, you should have more bandwidth.

          • Blootzm3

            +1 right and they are not the fastest anymore, do your research.

        • Anonymous

          I really hope you are talking about AT&T here because VZW is one of the few carriers that actually invests their money into their service.

    • Anonymous

      They’re expanding to more LTE cities every 4 or so months, isn’t that spending it to their infrastructure?

      • Anonymous

        They need to spend more on getting consistent backhaul to the towers. Some areas it’s stupid fast. Other areas it’s just meh.

        • Anonymous

          This is true, I pulled 62mbps down in my new apartment the other night. At home I would get no more than 15.

          • Anonymous

            Wow… 62mbps is just amazing. Half a mile from my house I can pull anywhere from 30-40. Inside of my subdivision I only manage10-15.

          • Anonymous

            Thats amazing. I can pull anywhere from 15(2 bars) to 24(3 bars) in Fort Stewart. Which is 40 miles away from Savannah-where Verizon has set up LTE. 

          • Blootzm3

            62? what phone are you useing. my galaxy nexus pulls 26 on a good day from my wifi conected to my docsis 3.0 modem that when conected to my computer my modem pushed 65 mb per sec.

          • Chad Ramey

            i pull around 35 to 45 at night in hartselle, alabama with my g nexus

        • Anonymous

          You build out the network and THEN worry about consistant backhaul.

    • B

      The top 1% provide about 1% of the revenue while using 50% of the resources.  The is no incentive to cater to them.  Verizon and the other telecoms would rather have them go to the competitors and clog up their networks instead.

      They would rather focus their infrastructure improvements to make sure they keep the other 99% of their customers happy.

      • Blootzm3

        -1 wrong

        • 1LoudLS

          excellent argument, except for the part that makes perfect sense.

    • Rich

       Best words spoken… So true, so true… But as you kinda of said it, it is about money, and this is how they make it… by complaining and changing their rules to make you get less for more money…

      Why else would VZW ask Google to block all tethering apps and services that isn’t owned by VZW

    • Avw

      Verizon made $4.65 BILLION in profit in the last quarter of 2010 alone. I couldn’t find current numbers, but they’re likely up. Keep in mind that was the holiday quarter, in others sometimes they only make 1 Billion. Poor Verizon.

      • Anonymous

        Good for them – they deserve every damn penny. Don’t like it? Build your own tel-com network.

        • Avw

          I wasn’t complaining about it, just providing more ccurate numbers than the first dude.

          PS. How are the hundreds of businesses you must own? By your logic, every business you’ve ever disliked must have spawned one of your own.

          • Anonymous

            I own one business, and it does well. I actually own it because I wanted to make more money to have a more entertaining life – not because I was pissed at another company for charging me too much or something. Excuse my sharpness in my earlier response…these days with all the idiots out there crying about companies making money, it’s hard not to interpret “Poor Verizon” while discussing their revenue as a stab against the “greedy corporations and businesses” that ‘ol Occupy and certain political parties try to criminalize for making a buck (not saying there are not shady operations out there) or spreading their wealth to those “less fortunate” (I call them lazy and il-motivated).

    • Anonymous

      Ummm… VZW is the one company out of those you listed that is constantly investing in their infrastructure. I would say opening up nearly 200 LTE markets in a year is pretty damn good. I don’t know what you’re smoking, but keep it from me.

    • Blootzm3

      +1 your right

    • ADD

      Verizon has made more than that. However, unlike AT&T, TMO, Sprint Verizon has invested heavily in their network as well as purchasing as much spectrum as possible. Remember with out spectrum it would be pointless to invest in the network. No more spectrum no more growth. 

  • i went from 2gig a month to 6 gigs in one billing cycle from my nexus… no idea what the hell its doing. maybe thats why the battery life isnt that great, but im still geting 24hrs of batterylife.

  • If you’re on unlimited data plan and using LTE as your dedicated ISP, can’t really blame you. Watch out Comcast! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I would be part of the 1% if I wasn’t always on Wifi

  • Christian

    Looks like Occupy Wallstreet may need to start occupying carrier headquarters now…

    • Anonymous

      I think we should occupy the users – clearly there is an abuse of the system.

  • Anonymous

    3.5 gigs used, 2.75 of which is Google music since picking up my Galaxy Nexus.

  • This is why all the companies are putting caps on data usage.  I admit I’m a huge data hog, Pandora, Netflix, web browsing and yes facebook and twitter. 

  • Not the 1% I was shootin for 🙁

  • Anonymous

    At about 3gigs this month…Use about 4 a month Pandora, Google, You Tube etc…thank god i have unlimited still from Verizon!!

  • Is there any way to clarify the nebulous terms like, “top 3% of users” or “extreme users”?  How many GB must one use to fall into one of those categories?

    • Anonymous

      Pretty much whatever the carriers say is abuse, then they make it lower than that # whenever they feel like it, but then push streaming/connected/cloud everything when advertising phones. “Look at all the cool stuff this phone can do & now you can do it faster!…..but dont use it too much”
      Its rubbish that using your phone for what it was meant to do & advertised to do gets you penalized. It cant be that hard for these multi-million(billion?) dollar corps to see who is actually abusing the network & who is just using alot of data that month because (for example) they are using google maps because of work/cross country trip

      • Granted

        That is exactly the insane hypocrisy of these stupid ass companies! Don’t be a data hog and use your unlimited or go over your 2 gig crap, but hey we want you to use all of this new crap that sucks data like a old school whore does man-meat! It’s beyond idiotic! Every company wants their cake and eat it too. I’m almost exclusively using wifi on my phone and tablet but it infuriates me when I’m supposed to feel bad poor old Verizon. Maybe if they didn’t keep taking away features and coming up with $2 “convenience” fees I would think different. All I know is that the day they do away with my unlimited plan I currently use is also the exact same day I cancel my contract, while not paying early termination fees to boot, already have that base covered just in case.

  • Interstellarmind

    I’m looking at 9 gigs this month with my LTE G-Nex.

    Biggest culprits: Google Mysic and Google News & Weather widget (must be the pre-fetch I guess).

  • Anonymous

    Occupy the bandwidth!

  • haha! I am the 1%!

    Actually, most of that data is due to a bug in Google Music. Apparently if you tap on Artist and select “Make Available Offline”, instead of making all songs by that artist available offline like you’d expect, it will make all ALBUMS that INCLUDE that artist available offline. It spent most of last night downloading all of “Unknown Album” by “Various Artists”.

    • Who the heck makes a data usage graph log scale? 

      I guess they figure as you get used to your GNex and realize the potential of that massive screen you will download more and more apps and watch more and more movies using data at an exponential rate 😛

      • Anonymous

        Actually… I’m quite positive that is a standard feature of ICS.

  • kliq

    Unlimited Data Master Race reporting in.

    • Anonymous

      HA!! Took a while, but i found the “comment of the day” (Was really hard in this thread bc of all the “experts” on this subject posting today)

  • Anonymous

    The cap to cost ratio is just so far off on wireless.  They want to sell you these devices and then want you to not use them.  My phone came with a TV streaming app that REQUIRED 3g to work (wasn’t allowed on wifi) and yet if I used it I’d have smashed through my cap in no time.  It’s so blatantly evil that I cringe just thinking about it.  It’s a sad state we US users find ourselves in.

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty sure the Verizon website’s server(s) run off of a tethered smartphone. So slow…

  • Anonymous

    I can’t blame the Galaxy Nexus for my increase in data usage. (I used to use only a few hundred MB’s per month on my unlimited data plan.)

    What I blame is the official release of Google Music.

    Ironically, I’ve been strangely conservative with my data usage even with my unlimited plan. Definitely not self-righteous, but I don’t want to be an “abuser”. I guess in my head, I’m wishfully hoping that vzw would spare me if they chose to start converting everyone to tiered plans 😛

  • Anonymous

    I jumped from 2gb to 4gb since i got the gnexus.. is it normal???

    • Anonymous

      No, youre using way too little. I was at 2gb a month. I was at 3gb 6 days after launch.

  • Anonymous


  • AG

    Thanks to this LTE Galaxy Nexus, I am now part of the 1% I used to use less that 2GB a month. I’m like up to 30GB since launch. WTF

    • Anonymous

      im at 7 and i used to use ~2 per month. have 7 days left. My usage was skyrocketing when hulu still worked on the g-nexus.

      They didnt say how much per month is considered the top 1% but im guessing its around 100gb.

      • delta echoe

        I have a feeling its a lot more than that

      • Hulu app isn’t working anymore?

        • Anonymous

          No, it worked for a few days after release then they pulled support. I got a reply email hinting at a licensing issue.

          I’m pretty disappointed honestly. I was using it a lot.

  • T Hall

    Used 18 gigs last month on Verizon 4G.  Just lots of streaming music 🙂

    So I think I might be in the top 1% 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I am on the go all the time, they will never find me.

  • Ryan C

    Dang, they caught me! I’ve been using my smartphone (with unlimited data) tethered to a server for almost a year now!

  • Russ

    We are the 99%!

  • tbaybe

    you should do a  data usage (and prove it) poll

  • Anonymous

    For those of us that are in the top % and get throttled… is there a throttlestop that will be making its way to the Galaxy Nexus, like we had for the Droid x???

    • Anonymous

      Verizon can’t and won’t throttle 4g devices.

      • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Yes. I hope Verizon never finds me.

  • i am the 1%!

    • Madcow06

      Where do you live? It’s time to occupy!

      • Granted

        Aahhhhh……the irony of promoting hippy relativist garbage while using a smart phone and discussing it on a site about smart phones that are powered by one of the large carriers. AAahhh, idiotic irony.