U.K. Customers of Three Increase Data Consumption 100% in 12 Months

In about a year's time, smart phone customers of U.K. mobile service provider Three have doubled their "average" data consumption to 1.1 Gbytes a month, Three says. 


That rate of increase is faster than for the U.K. audience as a whole, as Ofcom reports the overall volume of mobile data consumed in the United Kingdom has doubled in the 18 months to January 2012. 


By way of comparison, according to Nielsen’s June 2012 analysis of U.S. mobile phone bills for 65,000 lines, smart phone owners, especially those with iPhones and Android devices, were consuming about 435 Mbytes a month in 2011, roughly the same as in the United Kingdom.  


T-Mobile USA, meanwhile, reports that its users consumer about 760 Mbytes a month

Ofcom estimates that the average U.K. consumer now spends ninety minutes per week using a mobile to access the Internet, largely replacing their use of PCs and laptops for watching video clips and sending messages. 


Those of you with an engineering bent will realize what that means. Nothing stresses an access network like video.


Since mobile networks are more "bandwidth challenged" than the fixed networks, when users switch video viewing preferences to mobile access modes, mobile networks experience the "worst of all worlds" (the media type with the greatest bandwidth requirement is consumed on the networks with the least available bandwidth). 

And one might well expect consumption to keep climbing, as more users adopt smart phones, come to rely on mobile access to the Internet and as fourth generation networks are built, since faster access drives higher data consumption. 


A year ago, average consumption was about 450 megabytes. As you would expect, the growth has happened because of smart phone user behavior. About 95 percent of Three smart phone customers use data on a daily basis.



About 42 percent of respondents surveyed by Ofcom agree with the statement “my phone is more  important to me for accessing the Internet than any other device."


Levels of  agreement with this statement are highest among those aged 16 to 24 (51 percent) and 25 to 44  (48 percent). Levels of agreement have also increased over time, with 42 percent net agreement in 2012,  compared to 33 percent net agreement in 2011.


Ofcom reports that mobile broadband (data dongles or cards) now are used by about 13 percent of U.K. mobile users, while smart phone adoption grew from 27 percent in 2011 to 39 percent of U.K. adults,  representing 43% of mobile phone users.


Some 66 percent of U.K. users 16 to 24 and 60 percent of those aged 25 to 34 have a 
smart phone,



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