9:00 AM -- Here's a trend that could be something of a worry for mobile data network operators, particularly the folk working in the network planning department: The latest smartphone devices are using even greater volumes of data on 3G networks than their predecessors and are even greater data-hoggers than tablets.
That's the main conclusion to be drawn from the results of a new study from mobile analytics specialist Arieso Ltd., which found that the Apple Inc. iPhone 5 is the biggest data consumer on 3G networks.
And in Arieso's ranking of devices that consume the most data on 3G networks, smartphones dominate the Top 10, with six entries compared with just three tablets and one "phablet," specifically the Samsung Corp.'s Galaxy Note 2.
The study looked at the usage patterns of about 1 million users connected to a 3G network in one European market. (Even though 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) services are available in this unidentified market, there were too few users to be statistically meaningful for the research, noted Arieso CTO Michael Flanagan.)
The iPhone 5 was the most demanding device for data, consuming 50 percent more than the iPhone 4S (which was last year's data hog in another European market) and four times as much data as the iPhone 3G, which is the study's benchmark device. (See iPhone 4S is Most Data Hungry, Study Finds.)
The tablets identified in the study -- Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Apple's iPad and its iPad 2 -- ranked fourth, eighth and ninth respectively. This suggests not only that smartphone users have a seemingly unquenchable thirst for data but also that tablet users often rely on Wi-Fi for data connectivity. (See Wi-Fi: Taking the Strain for Cellular and 5 Trends in Carrier Wi-Fi.)
The Top 10 3G data-hoggers, as identified by Arieso, are:
1. iPhone 5
2. HTC Sensation XL
3. Samsung Galaxy S III
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 2
6. HTC One X
7. iPhone 4S
9. iPad 2
10. Sony Ericsson Xperia S
The study also found that 1 percent of the users consumed 40 percent of mobile data on the 3G network. While that's a high figure it isn't as extreme as last year, when the study found that 1 percent of users consumed 50 percent of the data traffic, though it should be pointed out that the studies were on two different networks and so are not directly comparable.
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile