Data Hogs

Using Your Smartphone a Lot Does Not Make You Part of the 1%

one percent e1325858156391 Using Your Smartphone a Lot Does Not Make You Part of the 1%

Image via Vice

The New York Times has an odd article out today framing data usage on mobile networks in the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street and the 1%. Because the more data some fat cat in his limo uses while watching streaming CNBC, the less bandwith there is for the truly needy student just trying to watch an stimulating TED talk, right?

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. “Some people may draw the parallel to Occupy Wall Street, and I’ve already heard comments about ‘Occupy the Downlink’,” a mobile consultant told the NYT.

Give me a break. The major difference in consumption is driven by the fact that certain parts of the world have much higher adoption of smartphones and tablets, better 3G and 4G networks and plans that offer unlimited data to customers. Large swaths of the developing world are still using 2G phone mostly for talk and text.

The NY Times throws in a handy paragraph reminding us about the imbalance in the consumption of oil worldwide, again drawing parallels to a rich minority gobbling up more than its share of a limited resource.

But the way they are measuring data usage has nothing to do with scarcity. The article points out that in Finland, the average user consumes 1 gigabyte of data over mobile networks per month, ten times the European average. Does that mean users in France and England can’t get enough access to the web? Hardly. We’ll let CUNY firebrand Jeff Jarvis take it from here.

“The NY Times get spun by the telcos,” Prof. Jarvis tweeted this morning. “I smell something rotten. Times paints users as bandwith greedy. Problem is greedy telcos not building infrastructure to provide what they sell.”

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  1. Why so defensive, Mr. 100G/month?

    1. Ben Popper says:

      I had 4g with my Android for a while but got suckered in by Siri and went iPhone. Now I am 3G and it feels like the stone ages

      1. Just 23 months more…