Here’s another 1% that I’m not in

L'Energie Moderne, 1936. Georges Hugnet, French (Metropolitan Museum) © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

That’s the biggest users of the mobile airwaves.

The world’s congested mobile airwaves are being divided in a lopsided manner, with 1 percent of consumers generating half of all traffic. The top 10 percent of users, meanwhile, are consuming 90 percent of wireless bandwidth.

Arieso, a company in Newbury, England, that advises mobile operators in Europe, the United States and Africa, documented the statistical gap when it tracked 1.1 million customers of a European mobile operator during a 24-hour period in November. The gap between extreme users and the rest of the population is widening, according to Arieso. In 2009, the top 3 percent of heavy users generated 40 percent of network traffic. Now, Arieso said, these users pump out 70 percent of the traffic.

Arieso’s report didn’t identify what type of usage the 1% was engaging in, but Michael Flanagan, the chief technology officer, speculated that it’s a combination of people who are working on their laptops via a 3G network while traveling on business and those who have unlimited data plans and are watching a lot of videos.

Surprising fact (to me at least):

In countries like Sweden and Finland, smartphones now account for more than half of all mobile phones, Mr. Zarandy said. About 35 percent of Finns also use mobile laptop modems and dongles, or modems in a USB stick; one operator, Elisa, offers unlimited data plans for as little as 5 euros, or $6.40, a month. As a result, Finns consume on average 1 gigabyte of wireless data a month over an operator’s network, almost 10 times the European average.

One comment

  1. In Finland, access is cheap and apparently not metered. So people can watch more. The US is way slow and archaic when it comes to net speed and access.

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