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iPhone Users Are Data Hogs Using 5x the Data of BlackBerry Users

Anybody surprised? Now I kind of understand why AT&T is buckling in NYC from all the iPhones on its network. Consumer Reports just released a study on regular consumer smartphone users showing that Apple iPhones use an average of 273MB/month compared to 54MB/month for BlackBerry users and 150MB/month for other smartphone users. The top 12% of iPhone users use 500MB+ a month and the top 4% use over 1GB of data as you can see below.


The numbers are even crazier if you start digging into BlackBerry users. Over 80% of non-business BlackBerry users use less than 50MB a month. I know I use over 500MB a month on AT&T but I am nowhere near the average. I highly recommend reading the full report on the Consumer Reports blog.

So how much data do you use a month?

16 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. IPhones only use that much, with my Tour I do about 1.3-1.5 GB a month. I live in an area with real poor radio reception but cell coverage works great. I use flycast for about an hour each night and download new os’s with opera, cancelled cable.

  2. BB users use less data because the web browser and apps stink in comparison. Don’t have to be an analyst to see that. Still no excuse for AT&T not being able to meet the service levels they’re selling. But anyone who thinks Verizon wouldn’t suffer similar growing pains if they offered an iPhone right now is sadly mistaken.

    • No, BlackBerry users use less data because their browsing is optimized for mobile connections. Sure, with an iPhone you get “the whole web”, but downloading huge graphics and web pages designed for large PC screens (only to have them displayed on a sub-VGA resolution smartphone display) sucks HUGE amounts of data comparatively speaking.

    • As david said, RIM compresses the data stream, but no, even if they didn’t the network would still be able to handle it. All you really need to do is look at devices that don’t do this (ie Android) to see that.

    • No, I stand by my point. The BB doesn’t support half the rich content the iPhone does to begin with, so compression or no compression BBs simply aren’t being used to accessing anywhere near the same amount of content. Folks can compare web delivery all they like, the bigger issue is apps & UX. Disregard apps and comparisons are apples to oranges. iPhone users use more apps which generate huge amounts of data.

      As for Tim’s comment, Android deployment is barely a fraction of the iPhone’s, both in qty and usage. So no, you can’t say that because VZW can handle Android they could handle an iPhone boom without growing pains.

      BTW, I’m writing this as someone who carries both a VZW BB & iPhone 3GS, so I have no agenda.

  3. Is that a typo or something?

    “I use 500gb a month on AT&T”

  4. 1st off, I use about 1GB/month, primarily for Slacker streaming but also lots of browsing, Google Mapping, BBM and attachment viewing. Also, the 1GB is an aggregate number of mine and my wife’s combined usage.

    2ndly, I somewhat agree with the earlier sentiment that it is lack of features that drive the usage disparity. The fact is, applications are fewer and pricier for the BB which means less usage. I can’t speak for the usability of existing and comparable apps as BB is all I know.

  5. Guys.. the key here is that BlackBerry due to it’s inherent OS design it compresses the data being transmitted over the network however that is not the case with iPhone. I believe data compression actually speeds up the UI experience considerably, because each requested file is typically compressed at an approximate ratio of 5:1 or 6:1. In other words, a 600MB download becomes a 100MB download. That saves us (the end users) both money and time and gives relief to the network providers.

    So at any point of time BB will have less data consumption that iPhone. But every OS is designed in it’s own way and has it’s pros/cons.

  6. BTW… Ronan do you really use 500GB of data or did you mean 500MB?? I thought although AT&T claims the data to be unlimited it is basically limited to 5GB.

  7. As mentioned before by somebody else there is about a 70% compression by blackberry as opposed to 0 on other phones – to use 500mb a month is a mammoth effort – I have a data limit of 512 and I don’t get close to half that – and I try. Granted plans here in oz are different to the us/canada but still that’s an intense amount of data

    • You have a limit on your data usage?

      I’ve never heard of that on an Australian BlackBerry service plan, but it’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard!

      My service provider, Telstra, doesn’t place any restrictions on my BlackBerry usage…

  8. Web browsing on the iPhone gives you the whole experience– hi-fidelity images, banners and ads included, as if you were on a desktop browser, so it doesn’t surprise me that AT&T is essentially getting desktop-sized usage out of its cellular network. Imagine if you had tethered your laptop or desktop to your Blackberry and you’ll get the same heavy usage patterns, too.

    Not all websites are optimized for the iPhone. OS3 also does a lot in terms of push notifications. Add it all up and you get pretty heavy usage, not to mention YouTube, Pandora, and anything that can be streamed is being streamed. I’m pretty sure Blackberry data is throttled and compressed at the BIS or BES, unless your apps are going straight through TCP.

  9. It has restrictions as it is only 20/month as opposed to 40 for unlimited – no point paying for something I’m not using. Its something optus offers – I think voda do the same thing

  10. We will just have to disagree then. I’ve used both BLACKBERRY and iPhone, and I honestly don’t find myself using more as you describe it “rich content” on a iPhone than on a BlackBerry. Then again, that’s just me, and even if I had a iPhone as my “daily driver” I wouldn’t be anywhere close to that 4% or even 12%.

    But I also don’t live my life online…

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