Are Apple’s iPhone Users Creating a Data Drain?

Users of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone eat up more data than those of any other smartphone, accounting for 80 percent of the top 10 percent of heaviest data users, according to a survey by Analysys Mason. A lot of the heavy data use comes from the rapid rise of online video viewing and music streaming services, but Apple’s new voice-activated assistant Siri could also be factor. According to a poll, owners of the iPhone 4S, the only device on which Siri is available at the moment, are said to use three times more data than the owner of an iPhone 3G.

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The survey also found that iPhone and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android owners used apps that were outside the top 25 by number of users 10 times more than consumers with Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry or Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Symbian devices.

Email edged SMS as a more frequent mode of communication, with 98 percent of those surveyed using it compared with 97 percent of text users. “Email, along with over-the-top messaging services, will probably continue to substitute for some SMS usage,” according to the research’s principal analyst, Martin Scott. “This raises questions as to whether SMS is sustainable as a chargeable service.”

The report also found that 75 percent of all those surveyed used wi-fi on their smartphone, while 45 percent used instant messaging or over-the-top messaging services such as the WhatsApp Messenger. More than 99 percent used their mobile browser at least once, for an average of 7.5 minutes per day.

The survey found that 30 percent of smartphone consumers in the U.S. used more than 500MB of cellular data per month, putting pressure on the available spectrums of wireless providers such as AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S), and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).

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