Reuters reports on a new study from mobile network consulting firm Arieso showing that iPhone 4S users consume twice as much data as iPhone 4 users, with new features such as Siri driving the increased demand.
IPhone 4S users transfer on average three times more data than users of the older iPhone 3G model which was used as the benchmark in a study by telecom network technology firm Arieso.
Data usage of the previous model, the iPhone 4, was only 1.6 times higher than the iPhone 3G, while iPad2 tablets consumed 2.5 times more data than the iPhone 3G, the study showed.
The spike in data usage for iPhone 4S users is likely not fully explained by the debut of Siri on the device, as a study by Ars Technica conducted soon after the device's launch revealed an average of 63 KB of data used per query. With even high-use users reporting making an average of fifteen queries per day, that would equate to approximately 30 MB of usage per month if all queries were performed over cellular networks.
As noted by ZDNet, other factors such as iTunes Match, iCloud, device speeds, larger photos, and "new toy syndrome" are also all likely contributing to the increased data usage.
Data usage has become a major area of concern for carriers as they seek to deal with the surging demand from smartphone users that are growing rapidly in number and in their demands for content. While a number of carriers such as AT&T and Verizon launched the iPhone with "unlimited" data plans, most carriers have now switched to tiered data plans for new customers as they seek to encourage more modest data consumption and extract additional revenue from the heaviest data users.
Consequently, customers have had to become more aware of their data usage needs as they determine which data plan to sign up for in order to avoid what can be significant overage charges.
Top Rated Comments
I can almost guarantee that Siri is not the main culprate doubling data usage. I think the obvious explanation is sociological not technological. People who use their phone more often and consume more data are also more likely to upgrade their phone to the latest and greatest (iphone 4s). Thus, a large portion of iPhone 4s users consume more data. Siri is just a way for those people to consume (content/data) with a few less touches.
I have been experiencing the same issue and couldn't get anyone at AT&T to admit a problem. I called probably 10 times and got the same answer every time "We do not show any tower outages in your area."
My employer also uses AT&T iPhones and air cards and has been experiencing the same issues I was...unusabley slow data speeds. Our IT department finally spoke to someone with a brain and the guts to admit the problem. Which is: In anticipation for the T-Mobile merger AT&T had opted to not upgrade some of their towers because they thought they would be taking over T-Mobiles, or something like that. Because of that, some of the towers are outdated and can't handle the load. In my specific area we were told that the tower should be fixed by January 13th but that doesn't mean it will be fully on line by that date, so I should expect to wait until the end of January to see improvement.
So after getting a solid answer I called AT&T and said I want some money off of my bill since my phone is useless unless I'm on wifi. Once again I got the company line "all towers are functioning." So I kinda got rude and told them that I already know exactly what the problem is, where it is, and when it will supposedly be fixed. And then the best customer line ever: "How is AT&T going to compensate customers?" I got $30 off so I guess that's good. And I know this has nothing at all to do with this article but I saw this guy's post and wanted to offer my experience.
Rather than turn wifi on and off depending on where I am, I end up keeping it off 90% of the time, using far more data than I used on my 3GS.
Siri... why art thou's data plan so costly???