Choosing a mobile data plan can be a daunting task; for example, AT&T Wireless offers plans that range from a few hundred megabytes all the way to 20GB per month on its new family share plan. However, a new study by NPD has found that a majority of smartphone users never exceed 2GB worth of monthly use.
The survey specifically examined Google Android users who are among some of the highest data users in the mobile industry. The survey focused on 1,000 volunteers and found that nearly all of those users stayed “well under” the monthly data limit for a 2GB data plan.
The study also found that certain mobile carrier users have higher data rates; for example, 11 percent of T-Mobile’s younger customers use more than 3GB per month, while just four percent of AT&T Wireless and Sprint Wireless customers exceed 3GB and only three percent of Verizon Wireless‘ younger audience reach above 2GB.
NPD found that most users actually browse the web and access services with more than 2GB data usage. The biggest contributing factor appears to be Wi-Fi connectivity, which has begun to surface in more areas as a free option for smartphone users. For example, head into your local Panera bread or Barnes & Noble and you’ll be connected at no charge to a publicly available Wi-Fi connection.
The NPD smartphone data study also found that most data consumed comes from video streaming and music streaming, both of which consume large amounts of memory especially in high-speed 4G LTE areas where HD TV can consume 2GB worth of data in a matter of hours.
To put the streaming study into perspective, users would need to stream half an hour of music per day while browsing the internet on a regular basis in order to gobble up their entire 2GB per month mobile data plan.
With more free Wi-Fi options becoming available, mobile carriers could soon find themselves with a disillusioned user base that goes elsewhere for its mobile browsing needs.