T-Mobile and Sprint users’ mobile data consumption soars above VZW/ATT


Over the past year, both Sprint and T-Mobile have made changes to their plans to make them more competitive, undercutting their main rivals and being more generous with mobile internet allowances usage. And it’s starting to pay off – for the consumer – if data collected by Macquarie Capital is anything to go by.

In the first quarter of this year, T-Mobile users on average used over 2.5GB of mobile data each month, with Sprint not far behind. What’s interesting is that – although the two carriers’ users have been more data-happy for the past 3 quarters – usage suddenly jumped during Q1.

Part of it could be a sudden improvement in LTE coverage and data speeds which – when combined with competitive pricing – makes browsing and downloading even more appealing to consumers. In T-Mobile’s case, it could be the sheer number of new subscribers switching from other carriers finally able to use as much data as they like (presuming they’re on an unlimited plan). Or perhaps a lot of adventurous consumers seeing how far they can push the “unlimited” plan.

And – of course – a research/analyst firm can’t publish data on T-Mobile and Sprint without mentioning the seemingly inevitable merger attempt. Macquarie’s prediction: The deal has a 70% chance of approval. How they make such a specific assessment on the situation boggles my mind. There are a lot of variables, and given the DoJ and FCC’s stance on the merger in the past, it would seem a lot less likely than 70%. Still, these are analysts, their sole purpose is to crunch numbers in order to help investors decide on which company they should invest in on the stock market.

Still, it’s encouraging to see so much data being used on T-Mobile’s networks. It’s a sure sign that the oft-maligned network is strengthening.

Via: Quartz

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  • Chris

    I believe this. I download full ROMs over T-Mobile’s network because it’s faster than most other internet I have. I stream youtube and music. My friend couldn’t even get a picture in his text yesterday on Verizon because he had turned off his data. So pathetic.

  • http://www.volkswagen.de/ Quailallstar

    13 gigs so far this billing cycle for me and I don’t even tether. ROM downloads, apps, etc etc. You are paying for unlimited data after all so use it folks.

    • datahog


      I upload SVN builds to DH all the time from my device and eat over 30GB a month, easy.

      Takes a bit longer to zip up the buggers on the mobile device, but it can be done from not far from literally anywhere.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update teh Jax

    On TMo, I tend to use anywhere between 1.5GB and 8GB in any given month. It mostly depends on whether I’m at home or on the road when I download & flash ROMs. My home internet is much faster than TMo so I only use TMo data for when I’m out and about. Although these past few months, I have been using more tethering data than normal while I’m working at a client’s location – but that doesn’t change my 1.5-8GB range at all.

  • DoDaDum

    I average around 30GB per month, occasionally a rare 80GB does get reach.

    • besweeet

      Pretty much the same with me, although my max has been 60GB so far (no Wi-Fi usage at all). Average is about 30GB (Wi-Fi + mobile data, for the sake of better battery life).

    • Matthew Bringhurst

      holy crap! haha Usually i’m around 15….thought I was high on downloading…

  • Chimphappyhour

    Most of my data is used to stream music and even that still hits around 5GB per month. I could easily see it jumping from there if I watched video or did some heavy surfing and sending of photos.

  • Jeremiah McCurry

    My usage soared when LTE came on line in my area. I use my phone for music streaming and social networks since the LTE connection is so much faster than my home cable connection.

  • sushimane

    70% my butt lol other analyst say 10% I’m going with 10. Doj and FCC has to review everything benefit for the consumers and job. I can see this merger being rejected.

  • honeymoonisover

    How about a chart that shows how much our monthly rates will go up once the merger is approved??

  • pops87

    Yeah the truly unlimited data allows me Netflix on the commute to work with reckless abandon. 25 gigs last month.

  • Andrew Finkenbinder

    I’ve hit 5GB three or four times in the last year and a half. My biggest data usage is always music streaming.

    • samagon

      It never fails, I hit 5gb a few days before it is set to reset. It’s the fault of Imgur.

  • Paul Garrison

    My friends with ATT and Verizon always brag about the coverage, but when we go on trips together i don’t drops calls. Also, they are watching the usage, so they don’t go over.

    • Paul

      I always get a kick out of saying “Oh, I have unlimited data so I don’t have to worry.”

      • Paul Garrison

        I do too! I do it as an insult to the AT&T/Verizon snobs. Another thing that is funny, we have some of the same alerts and I ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS get them about 3 or 4 seconds before the my friend with AT&T and almost same time as my friend with Verizon.

  • bw

    If sprint merges with T-Mobile say goodbye to unlimited data

    • envious684

      Dunno why you would say that when Softbank has unlimited data in Japan and they are the ones planning to buy t mobile not sprint

      • Willie D

        Based on how horrible Sprint network is and why over 2.5 million people ditched them last year alone, and now their throttling of users on their own prepaid brands…sprint is showing a direct connection to killing unlimited data, just not yet.

        • envious684

          That’s prepaid though? T mobile prepaid doesn’t even have unlimited data I believe , I use the 30$ plan. I’m as much as a t mobile fan boy as the next guy but you know fixing a network from the ground up doesn’t happen overnight

        • Bobby

          For $30 a month added to your plan you get truly unlimited data without it ever slowing down. This also includes 5gb of tethering mobile hot spot.

        • envious684

          Thought its 80$ for the truly unlimited plan? And I’m fine with my 30$ plan, can’t beat that price for what you get

        • Bobby

          No, it is only an extra $30 to what ever plan you have.

        • envious684

          Interesting I didn’t know that, might have to look into that, thanks :)

        • Moses JC

          No no no. That’s not true at all. That 30$plan is very different. You can not add 30$ to that plan and get fully unlimited data.

          It’s 80 for truly unlimited with no throttling. 5 gb of hot spot data.

        • besweeet

          T-Mobile’s $30 100m/5GB+ prepaid plan is unlimited…

        • envious684

          Okay technically its unlimited but its throttled after 5GB

        • besweeet

          So I guess the proper wording is unlimited*

          *throttled after #GB :)

        • envious684

          That sounds better :)

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Unlimited everything on tmobile prepaid is ! $80 a month

        • envious684

          I knew I wasn’t crazy thanks for the update though

      • Nearmsp

        T-mobile in Germany too has many things. But T-mobile USA is incorporated here and has no policies in common. Same way ING bank worldwide.

  • Willie D

    Not sure how or why Sprint even shows data usage that high, its impossible with their network of auto-throttle and lacking fast 3G let alone any LTE that works …

    • Jamison Shaw

      You have no idea what you’re talking about. I have sprint and use on average 2.5 gb a month. And the 3g works, its just not as fast but I don’t care because I’m hardly on it anymore.

  • Daniel Rivera

    If the sprint tmobile merger does end up happening i will stay if they keep international data being free. I just tried tmobile data roaming for the first time in Cancun mexico last week roaming via telcel only one word to describe it.. AWESOME! I was able to update my fb status,twitter send emails,get driving directions etc.. Speed wasnt so bad but i did pay for the speed boost which is still much cheaper than using a local sim and roaming with att. Before that i had att and roaming in mexico was always very crappy with att i had to have data completely off or else i would get a huge bill. And i always had to be going to places were they had free wifi. Now on tmobile i didnt have to do that cuz telcel had 3G coverage everywhere in cancun so i was able to get online where ever i wanted no more going to coffe shops for the free wifi. I loved it.

    • Arnold Gutierrez

      nice! ;)

  • El_Chuletas

    Ever since I joined Tmobile I average 150 to 210 gb per months, mostly downloading 1080 movies (not porn) it’s Awesome

    • Paul

      Stop lying, it’s porn!!
      I kid, I kid.

    • PhoneGod

      Wow I thought I was bad when I was on Verizon unlimited LTE…I use to do 80 gigs a month because I was using it as an hotspot

  • Paul

    I was moving in late May so I ditched my internet and cable service-SCREW YOU TIME WARNER CABLE!-so I was tethering to download my shows. I hit the 80 Gig mark when my bill cycle restarted for June. That’s the highest I’ve hit, but I’m sure if I streamed video I’d go higher. I was also downloading custom ROMs for my Note 3.

    • PhoneGod

      Bro how do you tether on tmobile withouth getting a tethering plan?

      • Jay J. Blanco

        You have to root your device and install a tethering app

        • thepanttherlady

          Not sure if it’s because I now use international unlocked devices but I don’t have to root to do so. :)

        • Paul

          Probably the international device portion.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Carriers lock devices, so having a international model they cant as accurately track your data. lol

        • Paul

          Well, you need something to toggle it on and off outside the “normal” way. I use ES File Explorer to turn it on and off.
          But you are right. BTW, Tweaked ALPHA is DA SH!T!

      • Paul

        It all comes from the rooting process. Almost every ROM for a T-Mobile phone has had something done in the programming to trick the T-Mobile data checkers. If you want to know more I suggest XDA as the best resource.

    • patt

      I don’t get anyone wanting to tether instead of fixed connection (twc) for example.
      I had TWC it’s not that bad but I went with FIOS for a reason and now TWC is pushing their new upgrades up to 300 mbps down.

      • thepanttherlady

        I refused to pay $160 for basic cable and internet through TWC. I use my phone as a hotspot for my tv or Kindle instead.

        • Paul

          I can download any show I want, minutes after it airs, so the tether is ideal.

        • patt

          I pay 96$ with taxes included and 1 HD box rental + cable card , 75/35 internet (actual speeds 84/39 mbps)

        • Mike

          Most houses have 3 hdtvs and them two extra boxes will cost $10-$15 monthly plus you probably have the basic TV package at that price and if you don’t after 1 year watch your bill double

        • patt

          I actually have Select HD. T-Mobile LTE is not that bad here at my house about 15-20 mbps but I still couldn’t go this way , way to many devices I got.

        • thepanttherlady

          Congrats. The tipping point for me was the card they sent on the mail thanking me for being such a valued customer and offered to give me $5 off my bill. Lol Basic cable and internet for $160 for one room. SMH I use an antenna for regular channels and my phones hotspot for Netflix and Amazon movies. Best $160 a month I’ve saved in a long time.

        • guatemala7

          Do to every go above 5gb of tethering data?

        • Paul

          Does it even matter? Thepantherlady does what thepantherlady wants.
          Ha ha

        • thepanttherlady

          I have never checked to see but I’m sure I have before. The majority of my data used is actually from my phone. I occasionally stream Netflix to my t.v. and will connect my Kindle to browse the web and/or play games that require a data connection.

          I used to be of the mindset that it was wrong to use phone data for other devices. Then I realized that I’m not connecting multiple devices to my data therefore abusing it. The only difference to watching Netflix on my t.v. versus my phone is screen size.

          My data usage has gone up substantially this past month than it was before and that is mainly because my employer has blocked the use of streaming media (e.g. iHeart Radio) while connected to their WiFi which is how I used to connect. Now I’m using my own data to listen. My usage in April was 21.25GB, 17.88GB in May and 53.67 in June (last 3 bills).

        • mingkee

          I have Optimum 100/35 for $75. I share it with two families (divided by sub net), and usually I use few TB a month.

      • Paul

        I was using the cheapest cable internet plan, and even with my FIOS I have the cheapest digital internet they offer. At my previous apartment my internet was 1/2 the speed of my data on a bad day. So I had NO issue with streaming GoT or UFC fights via the phone. Both of those shows streaming was TERRIBLE with a fixed connection.

    • Benny

      TMO should stop offering unlimited data plan because of subscribers like you.

      • Guest

        Why should they stop offering it because of people like me?

      • Paul

        Why should they stop offering it because of people like me?

        They should NEVER stop offering it. It’s the major sell point to a lot of users. Never worry about the data you use. Sometimes it’s 5 Gigs, sometimes it’s 40 Gigs.

        • Benny

          You violated terms of use with TMO (5GB tethering even with unlimited data plan).

          Your data usage is far more than fair use. Normal users have to share the cost of your excessive consumption. $10 more than 5GB plan can’t justify your behavior.

        • Paul

          ??? How do you, or they, know that all that was from tethering? You don’t. I could have easily used that much with streaming high-res video. Then would you say that they should stop offering it?

          You’re merely trying to pick a fight, and I’m not following you down that path. Sorry you feel violated that I used far more data than you consider reasonable to you. I’m not sorry I used the amount of data I did. To say that they should stop offering unlimited data is asinine.

        • Jason Crumbley

          We are allotted almost 10k GB a month on the unlimited data plan.
          Fair use is being able to use all of it however we like, not being punished for using what we pay for.

        • Jay Holm

          Do you work for T-Mobile or something? What a prick! Stop sticking up for them, he’s a paying customer, and he’s getting good use out of the service he pays for.

        • Tyler Kirchman

          What would be the difference if he watched 1080p youtube on his phone vs his computer. Nothing the resolution is exactly the same he just gets a larger viewing screen. 1080p on a phone is exactly the same as it is on a computer.

        • Benny

          Watching video on bigger screen is more enjoyable. You could watch several movies continuously on big screen TV but you don’t want to do the same thing on a 4 inch cell phone. SIZE DOES MATTER. That’s why TMO doesn’t provide unlimited 4G plan on tablet or mobile hotspot .

      • Jay Holm

        Screw you!!!!!!

        • mingkee

          This is not a substitute of home internet.
          However, you may stream YouTube to TV using Chromecast.

    • samagon

      I’m sure you realize that you are supposed to have a 5gb cap on the tethering, even if you have the full unlimited plan.

      I wish there were a way for you to be caught by tmo and forced you back onto TWC, I can’t think of a more just punishment for someone gaming the system than to suffer TWC internet service.

      • Paul

        I never said that I exceeded a 5 Gig tether limit. I just said that my data usage hit 80 Gig.

        the Time Warner Cable punishment is a pretty good one though. I’m really use that as a threat to other people.

        • KB

          Love the TWC threat also, I am going to start using it for completely different arguments. Instead of go to hell, I will use “You should be forced to use TWC!”

  • Rob H.

    I’ve used over 3GB this month. Granted my billing cycle is nearly up. I’ve topped over 6GB in a month before. This shows how restricting tiered and capped data plans are.

  • Mark

    I’m on the 1GB free plan and I still reach over 10GB a month. I mostly stream Pandora, visit websites, and tether to my laptop/tablet. I don’t watch a ton of video which you cannot do while throttled.

    • SCSI

      You can stream music after you hit 1GB? How fast is your connection after being throttled?

      • Mark

        My speed is usually between 80-100kbps while throttled, fast enough for standard music streaming using Pandora (not High Quality setting).

        • mingkee

          Actually, I re-stream internet radios with Shoutcast in 64kbps aac+. The sound quality is like 128kbps mp3.

  • Alex Zapata

    I hope no one is surprised by this new information.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    With the other two they dont use cuz they overpay even more with sprint and tmo theres no limits haha

  • mingkee

    I usually use 10-20GB because I watch TV with Aereo, and download pre-downloaded YouTube videos (usually 720p if available) for viewing in subway.