Three mobile customers use five times more data than the average UK consumer, according to new figures released by the London mobile network.
Average monthly usage shot up to 6.4GB a month, suggesting far more customers are streaming video and music than ever before.
Three is one of the only providers to release stats on average data usage. It dates back to 2010, when the average Three customer was only using 500MB data a month. This jumped to 2GB a month by December 2013, 3.3GB at the end of 2014 and 5GB a month by early 2016.
Emails, browsing the web and using apps tend to take up the least data, while the massively popular Youtube and Spotify tend to munch through data allowances.
Three has some of the largest SIM-only data deals out there, but has less 4G coverage than its Big Four network rivals, Vodafone, EE and O2.
With 95% of our smartphone customers using data on a daily basis, everyone is relying more than ever on their handset to do all the stuff they used to do on the internet at home or work.
And there is no sign of this slowing down.- Dave Dyson: CEO, Three
Data usage across demographics is skyrocketing as more and more basic services move online-first or online only. Local authorities have been shifting things like social housing, school absences, bin collections and council tax online.
And the number of people using phones to get online is gradually overtaking home broadband – 93% of the UK population as of May 2017 (Ofcom).
While Three were pioneers with the 3G network in the UK, they’ve fallen behind somewhat on 4G coverage. Current estimates put Three at 84% 4G coverage, compared to EE’s 98%. But the network still serves over 9m people, and accounts for a third of all UK data traffic.
One other thing to note – Three’s Essentials plans don’t allow data tethering and that can be a dealbreaker for commuters – only Three’s Advanced SIM-only plans offer tethering at the moment.