Home Verizon Smartphones (Droids?) Use More Data than iPhones

Verizon Smartphones (Droids?) Use More Data than iPhones

A study from wireless billing vendor Validas has revealed that Verizon Wireless smartphone owners are now exceeding the data usage of iPhone owners, who are currently restricted to AT&T. According to the study, average data consumption on Verizon smartphones is 421 MB as opposed to 338 MB on the iPhone. Out of all the vendors, Verizon Wireless has seen the largest data usage increase over the past year, jumping from 33.4% to 42.9%.

Since Blackberry devices were excluded from the study (and they compress data anyway), that leaves Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian and Palm’s webOS to blame (or thank?) for the Verizon phones’ data-hogging ways. But given Motorola’s extremelystrongDroid sales, most of that data usage is likely to have occurred with Droid devices like the Motorola Droid.

The 2009-2010 Validas study looks at year-over-year trends in wireless data usage across U.S. carriers. The data was drawn from 20,000 consumer wireless bills, analyzed from January through May 2010. To be clear, Validas did not detail the Droid’s data usage in the study versus the other phones. We’re assuming Droid data usage surpassed data usage on other phones. Below we explain why that assumption is a likely one.

Study Details

According to Validas executive VP of analytics Ed Finegold, the averages reported can be misleading. More importantly, “The key detail in this study that drives the average is that, by percentage, nearly twice as many Verizon Wireless smartphone users are consuming 500 megabytes to 1 gigabyte per month compared to AT&T iPhone users.”

When looking at those in the higher usage brackets, Validas found that over 2 GB of data were used per month by more than 4% of Verizon smartphone owners, while only 1.6% of iPhone users did the same.

Droids Eat Data

This comes on top of news from last week from Verizon’s business development executive director, Jennifer Byrne, who said that the Droid X phones were using “something like five times the data usage of any other device,” a detail that further confirms Android-enabled devices are behind these data surges at the wireless carrier. Although the Droid X’s launch came after the Validas study was complete, as the successor to the original Droid, its data usage trends are very telling in this scenario. Also notable is the fact that the Droid X is now a Verizon best seller – and possibly the top Android phone to date.

With the Droid X’s large screen – a growing trend among Android phones – it’s becoming clear that these devices are designed for media consumption. Things like video viewing, streaming TV and Web surfing are seemingly encouraged on Verizon’s Droid X, as well as other large screen Android devices like Sprint’s 4G EVO. Meanwhile, AT&T appears to be heading in the opposite direction with its data caps and the discontinuation of unlimited data plans for iPhone users.

With the launch of Verizon’s Droid X behind us, it wouldn’t be surprising if the next study showed even higher data jumps between Verizon’s smartphones and that of the iPhone.

Bigger is Better?

Although iPhone fans will tell you that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to screen size, one thing is clear from the news now being reported: Bigger is better when it comes to data consumption.

It may end up being better for market share as well. Already one analyst firm, the NPD Group, reported that Android has now passed the Apple iPhone in terms of U.S. market share during the first quarter of the year.

Big screens, big data and you can hold them anyway you want? Apple’s iPhone may have its first real competition.

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