Cellular data usage among consumers with unlimited plans is 67 percent higher than those with limited plans, according to NPD Group.
Limited plan users instead rely more on Wi-Fi access. Over the last three months, limited plan users consumed eight percent more than their unlimited plan counterparts, with a spike of 18 percent more Wi-Fi usage in October, NPD says. When looking at data and Wi-Fi consumption as it relates to a user's smartphone operating system, iOS users tend to consume more cellular data, while Android users look to Wi-Fi.
Cellular data and Wi-Fi consumption have been on the rise, as smartphone users increasingly access video content, social media apps, music and more. In fact, the average U.S. smartphone user consumes a total of 31.4 GB of data on a monthly basis (including Wi-Fi and cellular consumption). This is up 25 percent from one year prior, when the total monthly data consumption averaged 25.2 GB per user.
Streaming video remains the number one driver of cellular and Wi-Fi data consumption on mobile and fixed networks, accounting for 83 percent of the total data used by smartphone owners. In Q3 2017, 67 percent of all smartphone users reported accessing video content via an app at least once a month, up from 57 percent in Q2 2017.