Study Shows Unlimited Data Plan Users Consume More Cellular Data Over Wi-Fi

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    The numbers do not lie. The latest Connected Intelligence report from research firm NPD Group shows that unlimited data plan customer’s cellular data consumption is 67% higher than that of users with limited data plans.

    It actually makes a lot of sense. Limited plan users rely more on Wi-Fi access than cellular data as NPD’s Smartphone and Tablet Usage report shows.

    The survey used data collected over the last three months. During that period,  limited plan users used an average of 8% more Wi-Fi data than unlimited plan customers.

    Looking at it from the viewpoint of operating systems, the study showed that iOS users tend to consume more cellular data while Android smartphone users rely more on Wi-Fi connections.

    As more and more smartphone users access videos, music, social media and other apps on their devices, it’s easy to understand why there has been a rise on Wi-Fi and cellular data usage. During the study period, the average U.S. smartphone user used 31.4 GB of data per month using both Wi-Fi and cellular data. Comparedwith last year’s 25.2 GB, that’s an increase of 25 percent.

    According to an industry analyst from NPD Connected Intelligence, the de facto offering in the market has become the unlimited data plan. Putting into consideration the consumption of unlimited and limited plan users, this can be an alarming note for mobile carriers. Whenever a user shifts to an unlimited plan from limited data plan, they to use more cellular data.. This is because they no longer have to look for Wi-Fi connectivity when they need to access data since they no longer have to worry about expensive data overage fees.

    The study also reveals that video streaming is the largest driver of cellular and Wi-Fi data consumption. Video accounts for 83 percent of  data used by smartphone owners. Video usage is growing too. During Q3 2017, 67 percent of smartphone users reported  accessing video content through an app at least once per month, compared with 57 percent in Q2 2017.

    Source: NPD

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