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Why your Galaxy Note may be jacking up your wireless bill

Android Monthly Data Consumption

Are you an Android user who regularly blows through your monthly data cap sooner than you’d expected? If so then there’s a good reason for that. The New York Times points us to a new study from Ericsson showing that Android smartphones consume an average of 2.2GB of data per month, significantly more than the 1.7GB per month consumed by iPhones and the 1.4GB per month consumed by Windows Phones.

Why are Android phones such relative data guzzlers? The Times notes some possible explanations: In the first place, high-end Android phones tend to have larger displays with higher resolutions, which means that watching videos on them will typically require more data than on the iPhone or smaller Lumia models.

“Android models have a greater variance due to a larger diversity of device models,” writes Ericsson. “In networks where high-end models dominate, average usage on these devices exceeds average iPhone usage. However, when operators focus on the low-end Android segment the average usage is usually lower than for iPhones.”

Second, Android phones may simply be worse at managing applications than iPhones and Windows Phones. Chetan Sharma, a telecom analyst and consultant for American wireless carriers, tells the Times that Android users don’t get upgrades as frequently as iOS users do and thus may miss out on the latest software to help them with data management. What’s more, Sharma says that Android devices are much more likely to have multiple applications that stay open on background and collect location data than iOS and Windows Phone devices.

All the same, having devices that consume a lot of data isn’t at all a bad thing since it implies that there’s strong user engagement on Android devices, which is something that Apple has long touted as a key metric for the health of the iOS ecosystem.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.