More and more US wireless phone users are making the switch from regular phones to the "smartphone" line so you can expect to see larger amounts of data being used by those phone customers as they download apps, use web browsers, and send emails. Now a new study by Nielsen claims that data usage for smartphone users in the US has gone up 89 percent in the past year. According to the study, the average amount of data per smartphone user per month has gone up to 435 MBs in the first quarter of 2011. That's compared to just 230 MB per month in the same period a year ago.
That's just the average user, by the way. The top 10 percent of smartphone users have seen their data consumption go up even higher; 109 percent, according to the study. Nielsen says that the top 1 percent of smartphone users have seen their data use go up by a whopping 155 percent; from 1.8 GB just a year ago to over 4.6 GBs now.
Despite the huge amount of data consumption by smartphone users, the rates for using data from their wireless carriers has stayed more or less the same in the past year, according to the study. That means that the price per MB of data usage has actually gone down, from 14 cents per MB a year ago to just 8 cents per MB today. Many wireless carriers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon offer unlimited data use for their smartphones, although Verizon has recently said it plans to drop its unlimited plan later this summer.