7 Comments

Summary:

By analyzing data from a live 3G network in a major city, the mobile network analytics firm Actix has found that only 5% of iPads are used outdoors. iPads account for just 1% of data sessions, they use 4X more data than an average 3G device.

LTEiPad3

Sure, I have blogged ad nausem that iPad, iPhone and other smart devices are boosting demand for Wi-Fi connectivity (and hence gear) both at home and offices. But I couldn’t help but share this data from Actix, a London-based mobile network analytics company. In a press release they note:

By analyzing data from a live 3G network in a major city, the mobile network analytics and optimization specialist has found that only 5% of iPads are used outdoors and whilst iPads account for just 1% of data sessions, they use four times more data than an average 3G device. Key findings from the study were:

  • iPads account for less than 1% of all data sessions but make up 5% of total traffic.
  • 95% of iPad usage is indoors.
  • 90% of traffic from the iPhone 4 and 80% from Blackberry devices is from indoor use.

This isn’t surprising. Apparently 9-out-of-10 iPads being sold are WiFi only. I use my iPad to watch Netflix and Vimeo, but not over 3G. The networks are pokey and bandwidth is expensive.

But I bet this changes with the availability of LTE-based iPads, despite the expensive price tag on the data plans. Thanks to better speeds on the networks and ease with which I can access data instantly, I have stopped carrying my MacBook Air and instead never leave home without the LTE-version of iPad and the Apple keyboard just in case I need to draft something longer.

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  1. I blew through my 3 gigs in record time! Outdoors is simply not suitable to the task of browsing, but I tend to use mine on the porches, or public transport regularly. It just helps to be static for a few minutes. There is something of a mode change that happens…

  2. Richard Brown Monday, April 30, 2012

    If the cost of 3G data plans is putting people off outdoor use, why will LTE be any cheaper? The MNOs will have a lot of sunk cost to recover. As long as there is free(ish) WiFi, the mobile networks will struggle to get anyone to use their networks for any data hungry applications like Netflix and Vimeo. Cellular/mobile networks are going to be relegated to people actually on the move: in trains, planes & automobiles, if they don’t address data pricing. In metro areas at least, the ability to handover from one cell tower to another is becoming their only USP.

  3. Interesting picture. But don’t apply US metrics to the UK. About 40% of iPads are 3G – source gfk based on epos and channels intel rather than this dodgy US study. That said how many have empty sim slots…

  4. Roshan Shrestha Monday, April 30, 2012

    Maybe we use iPads indoors because it is near impossible to see the screen outdoors when it is bright and lovely?

  5. 2bluesolutions Monday, April 30, 2012

    As an iPad wifi-only owner, I’ve maybe encountered 1 or 2 situations over the last year where I wished for 3G connectivity. In general, all the places I would use it (at home, work, airport, hotel, etc) has wifi.

  6. Speed is not the reason.

  7. Very true. 3G plans are very expensive and it will take some more years to see people completely depend on 3G than the WiFi one.

    Robin.

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