Monday, January 9, 2012

Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of World’s Bandwidth (NY Times Report)

Source: NYTimes

Here is an interesting article about the usage patterns

The world’s congested mobile airwaves are being divided in a lopsided manner, with 1 percent of consumers generating half of all traffic. The top 10 percent of users, meanwhile, are consuming 90 percent of wireless bandwidth.

Part of the reason for the increase in download volumes may be Apple’s Siri voice feature on the iPhone 4S, Mr. Flanagan said. Siri allows consumers to dictate to the phone and enter more text and data into the network in an easier way.     

I don't really agree with the above explanation. Rather what I see is the 'video' and 'cloud' driving the usage. For example if a user makes 10 SIRI queries it'd use approximately .5MB data. On the other hand if a person takes a picture and syncs to cloud (dropbox or other such services) it'd use 2MB+ of data.
Similarly if a person watches 5 minutes of youtube HD during his commute it'd incur more than 10MB data.

Coupled with the background applications the actual number of calls are multiplied and the end result is 10% of users consuming 90% wireless bandwidth or signalling space. Data usage is still 30-70 or 20-80 depending on the country/location. For example in Singapore its 20-80 and in Indonesia 40-60(telkomsel analysis).

I am not a great fan of "policy" or throttling as user will always find newer avenues to overcome the network based limitations. So the answer I've is the 'volume' based charging rather than 'unlimited' plans. Let the end user decide on how much he wants to pay rather than operator meddling with experience.

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