updated 01:45 pm EDT, Sun August 26, 2012
Almost no one uses more than 3GB
The overwhelming majority of smartphone users on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon never exceed the 2GB per month data cap that's common to many carriers. This according to a new study from NPD, which looked at data usage among Android smartphone users. TechNewsDaily got ahold of the study's results, finding that the data caps in place are more than sufficient for all but a comparatively small portion of smartphone users.
For the majority of data plans offered by the major carriers, data usage caps out at 2GB per month. By placing an app to monitor data usage on the phones of 1,000 volunteers, NPD has found that most users stay well under that limit on a monthly basis.
The study found some variance between carriers, with 11 percent of T-Mobile's younger customer base consuming more than 3GB per month, versus four percent for AT&T and Sprint and three percent for Verizon. Even customers on unlimited data plans are not using more than 2GB.
The 2GB plateau is largely due to the fact that users are accessing the Internet on their phones while in Wi-Fi-covered areas. The study found that most of people's data usage is consumed while watching videos or streaming music. Even streaming music for a half hour per day would, in addition to normal wireless Internet use, likely top out at around 2GB per month.