Are you part of the 99%? No, I’m not speaking of the political movement that is sweeping the nation, but the bottom 99% of mobile data users. Mobile consultant firm Arieso studied the data habits of a European wireless operator, and through its findings it projects the top one percent of mobile data users use half of the world’s available bandwidth. The top ten percent use 90 percent.
Just like our widening income disparity in the US, the gap in bandwidth usage also grows. In the same study two years ago, Arieso projected the top 1% was using 40 percent, while the top ten percent consumed 70 percent. So, it’s pretty obvious that these bandwidth-hungry users are increasingly putting a strain on mobile networks.
Don’t blame the smartphone users completely, though. A majority of these megausers are connecting to wireless networks via laptops (64 percent). The number on mobile phones or tablets pales in comparison: about 33 percent were on smartphones, while three percent get online via tablets like the iPad.
Much has been made of the move away from unlimited data among the carriers. While for some of us it is an incovenience, a large majority of us will never exceed those caps. Data like Arieso shows clearly why the free lunch had to end: networks are being strained by these users degrading service to the rest of us, yet they pay no more than you or me.
Don’t you think it’s fair that these folks pony up a bit more since they’re using the network more? I sure do. Use the argument of the 99%ers as an allegory. They’re arguing for millionaires to pony up. What makes bandwidth hogs any different?
[Hat Tip: New York Times]