IPhone Users Spend More Money, But Give Operators Less Arpu


Credit: Pageonce

It may not be too much of a stretch to suspect iPhone users are some of the highest spending folks in the market. But compared to those using other devices, they actually bring in less money to their operators. A fascinating bit of number crunching from Pageonce, which develops personal finance apps, spells it out.

Taking 275,000 random users of their apps in the month of October, Pageonce compared how much users of Apple, RIM (NSDQ: RIMM), Android and Windows smartphones spent on credit card bills every month.

It turns out that the average iPhone user charges $6,872 per month, while BlackBerry users charged $5,693, Android users $5,330, and Windows Mobile users charged $5,076 on credit cards every month. That works out to a 35 percent difference between those on iPhones versus those on Windows devices, as illustrated in the graphic on the left. (The Pageonce blog points out that these numbers include carried balance plus news transactions plus any fees/charges.)

What’s interesting is that when you work out mobile operator charges for these users, though, the opposite turned out to be the case.

Windows Mobile users spent an average of $205.33 on its monthly phone bill, while Android users had bills of around $196.94, Blackberry users’ bills averaged $194.35, and iPhone users’ bills were $164.91. This works out to a difference of 24.5 percent between Windows Mobile and iPhone users. (Again these charges included current charges plus any past due.)

The blogger at Pageonce puts out a theory that the disparity might come down to business plans versus family or personal phone contracts. That is, those using their phones on business plans would spend more than the pure consumers.

But if that is true, then the numbers could be implying even more: maybe BlackBerry has not penetrated into the consumer market as much as it would have liked to. And Windows Mobile is currently less of an enterprise device than Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) would have you think (and despite the news last week that Windows Mobile got a little fillip in the enterprise space when Dell dumped its BlackBerry contract in favor of the Venue Pro, its own Windows device).

But perhaps it has more do to with something else: many of the paid-for services that Apple has enabled, courtesy of the App Store, do get people spending, but much of that spend bypasses the operators running the networks, as those transactions are linked to a billing relationship through Apple (NSDQ: AAPL).

Could that mean Windows Mobile phones and Android devices are making it easier for operators to get in on enhanced data and content services?


Jeff Brandt

Apple is a very unique company where most of their customers are spending someone else’s money! Not that this is a bad thing but is it sustainable?

Jim Levinger

I question the usefulness of this data. Either users of the Pageonce application must be skewing the demographics of this sample or the person doing this research had some flaws in their calculations. It is entirely impossible that the “average” iPhone user and the other “average” cell phone users are spending this much on their credit card bills. Where that to be the case, every iPhone user would total $82,464 per year in credit card bills. Not possible!

So what does this tell us about the ARPU numbers? Probably not much.

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