Light Reading
New KnowMyApp.org tells consumers and developers how much data their favorite apps will consume.

CTIA Site Dispels Mobile Data Mysteries

Sarah Reedy
12/27/2013
50%
50%

Most smartphone users have little to no idea how much data they're using each month. This fact was reiterated to me over the holidays when my boyfriend's family of six welcomed another iPhone into the family plan, and negotiated data usage.

The kids debated which apps actually use data, how much apps left running in the background consume, and how they could limit their usage. In past months, they found that even without careful monitoring, they never came close their data cap of 4GB thanks to their home WiFi network, but the addition of a new smartphone user was making everyone nervous.

I tell this Christmas tale because it shows how data remains a mystery to most, something you only become acutely aware of when you start to rack up overages. That's why it's good to see the CTIA attempting to make it more clear with its announcement Thursday of KnowMyApp.org, a web site designed to inform consumers how much data their favorite apps use before they find out the hard way.

Currently, the site includes the top 50 paid and free apps from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), and it spells out how the app was tested and how much data it used when downloaded, at initialization, during active run time, and during background time. It also shows how the app impacts data plans and offers suggestions on how users can minimize their usage.

CTIA built the site along with its Application Data Usage Working Group, which includes phone makers like Apple, vendors like Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), the big four US carriers, and chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM). Intertek Group plc developed the mobile app data usage benchmark testing using AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Application Resource Optimizer, an open-source diagnostic tool that analyzes network app data.

The site should be helpful for consumers who want to take the time to research and understand how apps affect their plans, but it's also a good tool for developers that want to build more data cap-friendly and battery-friendly apps. That will become increasingly important if consumers decide to limit their usage -- or not download an app -- based on how it affects their service plans and devices. (See Survey: Mobile Data Caps Matter.)

I bet most would be surprised to hear how much data their favorite apps eat up --and it's not just mobile video streaming either. For example, KnowMyApp.org says that Google Maps (the subject of debate on our five-hour car trip home) used for one day on a Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) iPhone 4S -- defined as three sessions of its different features -- would use up 31% of a 1GB data plan. That's pretty significant, especially since there is limited WiFi to help you on the road.

I'm not sure if the CTIA's new site will influence app downloads, but it will certainly give family members more ammo in their monthly data battles. Either way, it's good the operators are giving their customers insight into data-hungry apps to complement those services that provide insight after those apps are used.

Overages just aren't a good business for anyone.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(17)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
1/3/2014 | 10:54:43 AM
Re: Good resource
Thanks for the feedback, Scott. 10GB seems like a lot to me, but if you are using it to replace home broadband, then it makes sense you come so close. I also agree that the CTIA site isn't granular enough. In conjunction with some of the other data-tracking apps out there, including from the operators, it might be more helpful.

I also agree that the apps makers themselves, like YouTube, could help add some clarity with their apps. 
ScottEStewart0101
50%
50%
ScottEStewart0101,
User Rank: Lightning
1/3/2014 | 10:41:05 AM
Re: Good resource
Hi Sarah, 

 

I have a 10Gb mobile share plan, with just my hotspot, and iphone. While I've never gone over, I'm constantly checking my usage. Mainly to make sure I don't let AT&T get free money and that I juse up atleast 90% each month. 

Without using youtube or streaming, the 10Gb plan works fine. I oddload alot onto public wifi when able, and I typically listen to either podcasts or iTunes Radio. (which itunes radio uses lots of data, nearly 100Mb an hour due to 256kb streaming on HSPA+/LTE)

Btw, I live in rural Kentucky, which the only option is mobile data. there is no cable or DSL services. 

regarding the CTIA site, I don't really trust it. It's not giving real life scenarios. What it needs is a calculator for each program, so each user can specifically select their device, and calculate the time of use they estimate. 

This is my big problem with YouTube or streaming video. There is no size detail on how much data it requires to stream videos to my devices on mobile plans. Yet, Google and other video services are pushing 4K streaming? This is amajor problem. 


PS edit: this site needs spell checker for comments :-D

Also: every time the kids connect to my mifi, they want to watch youtube. It'd be great if hotspot software allowed me to block youtube from the mifi device at the router level. o.O
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
12/31/2013 | 2:13:28 PM
Re: Good resource
So is Hotspot 2.0 going to help fix the bill shock by moving us to WiFi more smoothly next year, or not?
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
12/30/2013 | 4:45:23 PM
Re: Good resource
Nah, I'm on T-Mobile. I probably fluctuate a lot based on travel etc. as well.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/30/2013 | 4:40:38 PM
Re: Good resource
Wow, I know a lot of families who don't even get up there! What data plan are you on? Ever had any overages?
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
12/30/2013 | 4:20:48 PM
Re: Good resource
Last time I checked I was at the 4GB-5GB a month mark.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/30/2013 | 11:45:03 AM
Re: Good resource
I actually have no idea how much data I use every month. I'm on a corporate plan, so not sure I can check it easily, but I'll look into it. I'm not sure how our company is set up and if they do data sharing with other devices on the network. I haven't gotten in trouble yet at least!
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
12/30/2013 | 11:08:21 AM
Re: Good resource
I don't travel much, but subscribe to way too many fantasy football/basketball/baseball apps, and tend to go back and forth between them while on long dog walks, watching video clips confirming whatever terrible roster mistakes I make in a given week.
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/30/2013 | 12:22:36 AM
Re: Good resource
I guess I need to travel more, I'm always way below my 5GB limit, I think most places I frequently hangout I'm either not using my phone (need two hands to eat and drink!) or I've got my wifi already setup.  I think most of the data usage comes from my email syncing and random things I do while waiting for my lunch.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/29/2013 | 7:52:00 PM
Re: Good resource
Yeah, good point -- I wonder how many people buy larger plans for peace of mind then never check their usage to see if that's smart. I bet a lot of people would be surprised by how little they actually use. 

For those that get close to their limits, I imagine their family plans for data are like SMS plans were when I was on the family plan. I'd use around 200 text messages compared to my parents 4. I'm sure there are data wars in some families now. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
More Blogs from Light Reedy
After years of sitting on the sidelines, Microsoft has pledged to support WebRTC -- formerly thought of as a Skype competitor -- in Internet Explorer.
Despite the launch of its new Passport smartphone, BlackBerry needs to embrace a future that's in M2M, messaging and enterprise services.
Vodafone's Dr. Alan Law talks to Light Reading about virtualization, backhaul, SON and more after being appointed chairman of the Small Cell Forum.
Wireless operators are jumping on the mobile music bandwagon, a move that sounds good for many reasons.
The worlds of tennis, fashion and wearables collide as Ralph Lauren and OMsignal turn a polo into a sensor to track your every movement.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
The Next-Gen Network Disconnect

10|29|14   |   01:23   |   (0) comments


There's a lot of talk about making networks more simple with SDN, NFV and next-gen broadband technology – but what about the complexity of introducing such capabilities?
LRTV Custom TV
Grow Your VPN Service Revenue

10|27|14   |   4:00   |   (0) comments


Watch how CSP product managers can better differentiate and maximize the value of their Internet, VPN and cloud services for business services customers, by adding premium application performance visibility to their data services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Add SmartSense to Make Your Network Ready for 4K

10|27|14   |   3:23   |   (0) comments


To make current networks ready for the coming 4K TV challenges, Huawei SmartSense solution will conveniently add experience and operation capabilities to boost telcos' future business.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
NetMatrix: Orchestrate the SDN & NFV World

10|27|14   |   4:11   |   (0) comments


Orchestrator is important in SDN/NFV world to make Telcom network automate, open and efficient. NetMatrix, as Huawei SDN/NFV orchestrator solution, has been in deployment and is showing its' value in real scenarios.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei FusionSphere Enabling ICT Transformation

10|27|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


Jeffrey Gao, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of Huawei West Europe Region, talks about the company's future-oriented cloud strategy. Huawei is providing full portfolio of IT architecture and building an open cloud ecosystem with innovative cloud OS FusionSphere to support customers' ICT transformation.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partner Interview: StorIT

10|27|14   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


An interview with Suren Vendantham of StorIT, a value-added distributor for Huawei in the Middle East region.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partner Interview: Optimus

10|27|14   |   3:14   |   (0) comments


An interview with Nehul Goradia of Optimus, a value-added distributor for Huawei in the Middle East.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partner Interview: Enterprise Solutions

10|27|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


An interview with Pouya Parsafar of Enterprise Solutions, a valued distributor partner with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Customer Interview: OETC

10|27|14   |   2:35   |   (0) comments


An interview with Saif Albadi, of the Oman Electricity Transmissions Company, a government utility in that company that partners with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Customer Interview: Jannah Hotels & Resorts

10|27|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


An interview with Nehmeh Darwish, CEO of Jannah Hotel & Resorts, about his collaboration with Huawei across five hotels in the United Arab Emirates.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Commitment to the Middle East: GITEX 2014 Wrap-up

10|27|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Highlights from the Huawei pavilion at GITEX in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with interviews with current Huawei customers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei: GITEX 2014 Day 1 Highlights

10|27|14   |   2:58   |   (0) comments


Highlights from the Huawei pavilion at GITEX (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition), an annual computer and electronics trade show and conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
AT&T: Merger Review Halt Won't Hurt Us
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 10/23/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Roku Raises $25M, But for What?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed