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Shared data plans may not be so bad: Average smartphone owners use less than 2GB of data

Dan Graziano
August 24th, 2012 at 4:30 PM

There has been a lot of fuss going around about Verizon (VZ) and AT&T’s (T) new shared data plans. While the nation’s two largest carriers claim the plans will save consumers money, Sprint (S) and T-Mobile have both spoken out in opposition of shared data, as have a number of disgruntled customers. Shared data plans may not be all bad for the average smartphone owner, however. According to a study from NPD Group, the majority of smartphone subscribers on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile use less than 2GB of data per month. The research firm collected the information from 1,000 Android smartphones through an app that tracks data usage, and plans to collect additional data from iPhone users in the coming months.

The study showed that T-Mobile has the most data-hungry customers, 11% of whom use more than 3GB per month compared to 4% on AT&T and Sprint, and 3% on Verizon. “T-Mobile consumers tend to be younger,” analyst Eddie Hold told TechNewsDaily. “Younger demographics are the ones we find hit the network harder by doing a little video and music streaming.”

The firm also found that even with unlimited data, users rarely took advantage of it. “In general, Sprint’s usage is the same as the other networks and less than T-Mobile,” the analyst said, noting subscribers are utilizing Wi-Fi networks more often.

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