Smartphones Outpace Tablets in Data Consumption

By | Feb 20, 2013

The rapid adoption and evolving usage of smartphones has resulted in changing consumer behavior related to data usage. An Arieso study finds that smartphones have outpaced tablets in data consumption for the first time. In general, smartphone users are becoming more tech-savvy, and mobile phone devices are conveniently allowing users to perform more diverse tasks from the palm of their hands.

Smartphones are getting bigger and better, and capabilities of the latest mobile devices - not Tablets - are unleashing high user demand. While this puts added pressure on mobile operators to improve network coverage and data plans, midsize firms have much to gain in terms of cost savings and a more mobile workforce that can perform many business tasks on the go. However, IT managers will have to overcome associated challenges such as network security to maximize productivity of enterprise mobility as the smartphone consumer behavior advances further in this direction.

Smartphone Vs Tablets Data Uptake

The London-based research agency Arieso surveyed 125 devices and "billions of mobile connections" and found the iPhone 5 and Samsung S3 to be the the most data-hungry devices. In comparison to the iPhone 3G as a benchmark, the iPhone 5 had the highest downlink data usage, and the Samsung S3 had the highest uplink data usage on the charts. The nearest challenging tablets were the iPad and iPad 2, ranking fourth and fifth respectively. These results are less surprising considering that tablets, unlike smartphones, rely more on Wi-Fi for internet connectivity and are often held back by stingy data plans.

The study evaluated more remarkable results by analyzing data usage patterns of the last twelve months. As opposed to many analysts who believe data growth is slowing down or isn't much of an issue anymore, PCWorld quotes Arieso CTO Michael Flanagan as saying these data growth patterns follow "a kind of Moore's law, as every new generation of the iPhone consumes 50 or 60 percent more data than the previous one".

Tackling Data Deluge

Since iPhone and Samsung flagship smartphones are popular among business users, smartphone data consumption will likely grow more aggressively in the business world as compared to the average consumer market. As data costs go up and employees regularly use business apps from their personal devices, IT managers at midsize firms will likely develop strategies that limit data costs by efficiently provisioning and operating the existing data architecture.

As smartphones outpace tablets, the disparity between midsize IT budgets and unbridled smartphone data growth will be increasingly challenging for midsize firms and their employees. Mobile device and corporate IT network security would also influence decisions made by IT managers at midsize firms to limit data consumption.

The contribution of smartphones toward business agility is evident with the rise of enterprise IT trends such as BYOD. However, the IT communities at midsize firms need to overcome the associated challenges to ensure long-term productivity with these IT trends, as more employees use smartphones for work and even personal uses, therefore consuming more data services via the corporate IT network.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise, and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

IBM Solution Midsize Business Solutions

IBM and its Business Partners understand your challenges and needs. We've created specific products and solutions designed to help growing companies like yours work more productively and profitably.

Learn More »