Thursday, July 19, 2012

Average U.S. Mobile User Consumes 450 MBytes Each Month

The "average"  U.S. mobile subscriber used 450 MBytes of data each month, in the first quarter of 2012,  Nielsen says. In the first quarter of 2011, the "average" user consumed 208 Mbytes.

Of course, there is no such thing as an "average" user, measured as a "mean." Rather, usage historically always is highly skewed, with a very small percentage of users consuming high amounts of data, while most users consume relatively modest amounts of bandwidth.

In fact, one study by Arieso found that one percent of mobile users consume 50 percent of all downstream data, suggesting a Pareto style distribution (basically, an 80/20 rule, where 20 percent of instances account for 80 percent of results).

That suggests that the top one percent of users consumes 10 times (an order of magnitude) more data than users at the 80th percentile of usage.

In addition, overall usage will skyrocket, as well. 

Mobile phone users will, in 2016, on average consume 6.5 times as much video, over eight times as much music and social media, and nearly 10 times as much game content as in 2011 according to a forecast from Informa Telecoms & Media. 
In 2016, the average mobile user will be browsing six times as many web pages and downloading 14 times as many megabytes of applications on their handset as in 2011. 
The point, though, is that "mean" usage tells you almost nothing about "typical" usage. 


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