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Smartphone use transforming with the rise of 4G and Wi-Fi

This discussion paper is the latest in a series on smartphone user trends published by Informa Telecoms & Media in partnership with Mobidia. The aim of this paper, in keeping with the five previous papers - the first of which was published in February 2012 - is to harness Mobidia's mega-panel and extensive global dataset to create groundbreaking new research on smartphone user behavior, particularly in light of the transition from 3G to 4G LTE (identified as 4G in this paper) that is underway in many of the world's leading mobile markets, and the parallel explosion in Wi-Fi coverage globally. The aim is to select the most telling data from Mobidia's vast dataset to detail and interpret this key technology inflection point for the mobile industry, one that has service providers and vendors looking for answers as to how smartphone users are evolving, and what that means for aspects of the industry as varied as 4G and Wi-Fi deployment plans and existing and new mobile revenue streams.

As with previous papers in this series, readers should be aware that the source of the primary usage data cited throughout is the Mobidia My Data Manager application, specifically end-users who have agreed to share their usage data with Mobidia on a strictly anonymous basis. The application has millions of active users across hundreds of countries, and more than half of users have agreed to share their usage data with Mobidia. That has led to a sample size of hundreds of thousands of end-users globally, and tens of thousands across the 10 leading 4G markets covered in this paper: South Korea, Japan, the US, Canada, Germany, the UK, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Russia and Brazil.

Table of Contents:

The success of 4G and Wi-Fi in boosting smartphone data usage........4
The state of data roaming on smartphones......7
How much 4G data do 4G smartphones actually use?..........8
The impact of 4G on data-plan size distribution..........10
Trends in data-plan consumption for 3G and 4G smartphones......12

20 figures

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