Android smartphone users don’t download much on cellular

by: nathanSeptember 28, 2012

android smartphone shopping

Hot on the heels of a report about Americans spending more every year on their smartphones and data plans, we bring news that may make carriers a little more happy. It seems downloads over Wi-Fi amount to more than double the cellular average at nearly 2.5GB monthly. The average Android smartphone user downloads around 870MB over cellular a month.

Of course, this is not without some stratification: 18 to 24 year olds download the most over cellular data at 1.05GB, people over the age of 55 used only 750MB a month. Wi-Fi data studies saw the 25 to 34 age crowd the most active in downloading. They consume some 3.1 gigs a month! Who wants to guess the content of all that juicy traffic hmmn? We’re guessing games and YouTube.

All of this news points to a possible contradiction in studies. The one for this story was done by NPD, and their data comes from 1,000 smartphones with installed SmartMeter software. However, if you want to check sans software, go into Settings and then click on Data Usage. Sorry, pre ICS Android users, this may not be available for you unless you are running a custom ROM.

It’s also interesting to note that initiatives are being enacted by carriers so cellular data isn’t used as much. I wonder if massive overage fees weren’t enough for some people to get the hint to use WiFi?

Even with LTE, do you think this Wi-Fi trend will continue? Might it change if Wi-Fi gets too crowded or starts becoming associated with bigger fees from purveyors of previously free or low-cost signal?

  • Jagadishwar

    It is simple. Apple downloads lot of data with out knowledge of users. We get unexpected high data usage bills even though we don’t download. You can see so many number of users complain about this in apple forum and apple doesn’t care to addresses this. I have iPad 3 and I had same issue. I am victim of apple’ unethical practice.

    Appreciaten that android doesn’t do that. Obviously android data usage would be less.

  • Apple users don’t know how to connect to Wi-Fi, that’s all.

    No, seriously though. I don’t know about iPhones, but on most download pages in the Android OS you have the option to tick “only download automatically over Wi-Fi”. So unless you watch many feature films over 3G the majority of the average user’s data traffic, namely app updates and the odd software/firmware update, is done in the background whenever the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

  • RottenRonnie

    Plans in Australia prices rising value in calls decreasing & data reduced massively my plan was 3gb carrier has reduced that 2gb half way through my contract & all new phones on plans have higher price plans plus phone repayments & top plan for data is reduced to 1.5gb & on a Samsung SG3 $650 calls it is $7 a month more then i paid for SG2 when new $750 credit & 3gb data bbizarrely 1 off their resellers give 3gb of data around same price

  • realjjj

    There was a recent NPD study saying android users use 870MB/month over cellular and 2.5GB over WIFI. However, to be fair , many do factor in WIFI in the math,an example would be the second keynote at Hot Chips this year .In any case carriers are lightyears away from offering decent data plans that would allow the traffic to grow with the consumers’ needs so for now the limitation is and will remain the carrier’s pricing.The internet of things is also pretty dead for as long as we have these carriers (and ISPs,lets not forget how insane data caps are for ethernet).