August 20, 2014

4G users consume far more data than 3G users

Study finds that 4G users consume far more data than 3G users

According to data by Mobidia (a leading mobile analytics provider) gathered from hundreds of thousands of Android users in ten of the leading global 4G markets over the first four months of 2014, 4G subscribers use a lot more data than 3G subscribers.

That might not come as such a surprise, after all 4G is faster than 3G, but it shows that the extra convenience of it is actually pushing people to use it more, in some cases a lot more. In Hong Kong for example 4G subscribers used on average almost 100 percent more data than 3G subscribers but even where the difference isn’t quite that great 4G data use was found to be consistently higher.

However the study found that even 4G users are still heavily reliant on Wi-Fi, with Wi-Fi usage representing 75-90 percent of all mobile data consumed across all the major 4G LTE markets.

In fact it was found that in the UK 4G subscribers use only around 1GB of 4G and 3G data each month on average, which is a surprisingly small amount. On the other hand they use around 6GB of Wi-Fi.

Despite being a leading 4G market the UK’s overall data use is also lower than a lot of other places. Japanese and South Korean users both average around 3GB of monthly 3G and 4G data, while American and Russian subscribers use around 1.5GB and they all use more Wi-Fi than the UK too, though UK 4G subscribers use around as much mobile data as Canada and Brazil and more than Germany and South Africa.

So what should you take away from all this? 4G is on the rise and a far more viable option than 3G, but it’s still not seen as a replacement for Wi-Fi, even on mobile devices. That makes sense, as the cost of 4G is still often higher than Wi-Fi and in many cases, especially in the UK, 4G is subject to tight data limits, while Wi-Fi is often unlimited. These are obstacles that 4G will need to overcome if it ever aims to truly replace Wi-Fi on our mobile devices.
It’s also clear that UK users aren’t as data hungry as some other markets, but data use of all kinds is bound to rise over time, especially as 4G becomes more readily available.

Looking to find out more about 4G coverage in the UK?

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  • Haydn

    Mind you 3UK customers account for 45% of mobile data in the UK that’s actually an increase from 2012 before EE 4G despite 3UK having by far the smallest 4G network