Report: T-Mobile customers use apps on cellular more than those on other U.S. carriers


With many different data plans out there, consumers may use their phones differently, with some sticking mostly to Wi-Fi while others use cellular without a care. A new report that recently came out aimed to find out how subscribers across the major four U.S. carriers are using the apps on their devices.

A report from FierceWireless and consulting firm P3 shows that T-Mobile customers use their apps far more on cellular than customers of the other three carriers. According to the report, T-Mo subscribers had an average of 141 app sessions per day over cellular, compared to 102 by AT&T customers, 85 from those on Sprint, and 72 for Verizon customers.

T-Mobile customers also consumed more data than their counterparts on other carriers, according to the report. T-Mo subscribers consumed an average of 139MB per day using apps over cellular and 268MB over Wi-Fi. To compare, the next closest was Sprint, whose customers consumed 89MB over cellular and 168MB over Wi-Fi.


Other tidbits from the report show that T-Mobile customers relied on Wi-Fi for app usage the least of the four major carriers and that YouTube was the most-used app over both cellular and Wi-Fi for T-Mobile customers, followed by Facebook and then Netflix.

P3 gathers its data from more than 6,000 smartphone users, and the data in this particular report was obtained between January and August 2016.

This report gives an interesting look at how customers across the major U.S. carriers use their apps. Many people are on limited data plans, and so lots of consumers probably try to stick to Wi-Fi to avoid paying data overages. We’re now starting to see carriers like AT&T and Verizon move away from overage fees, though, and instead give their customers throttled data once they’ve used up their monthly data allotment.

When it comes to T-Mobile customers, it’s not too surprising to see that app usage over cellular is higher than on the other three major U.S. carriers. Not only has T-Mo been offering unlimited data plans like Simple Choice Unlimited and T-Mobile One, but features like Music Freedom and Binge On have enabled T-Mo subscribers listen to music and watch videos over cellular without touching their high-speed data allotments.

For a closer look at this report, hit up the FierceWireless link below.

Via: Reddit
Source: FierceWireless

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  • Aleks_

    One has to wonder, T-Mobile has the highest usage per subscriber of service, however, their infrastructure has held up quite a bit better than expected. In other words, people expected T-Mobile to lag as more data was being used, and while I’m sure some places lack high data speeds and are congested, overall, TMO is holding up quite well. I’m optimistic for T-Mobile as they seem to be making all the right moves and with the upcoming auction looming closer, it only shows how important it will be for them to bid as much as they can to keep this positive trend going. So, I expect TMO to go all in. Come what may…….

    • RonJeezy

      Shhhhh don’t jinx it lol

    • Prode

      The reason is because they have less ppl on the towers. ATT and Verzion still have more customers. This lags the towers. If Verzion and ATT and the same customers TMO does then I am sure they would be as fast or faster. I love the speeds I get on TMO but I do not plan on it lasting forever at the rate TMO is gaining customers.

      • noh1bvisas

        att and V should be able to afford more towers. apparently they don’t care.

        • Prode

          it isn’t the towers its the Spectrum. If all the bandwidth is being used they need to buy more which costs a lot of money. There may not be any more Spectrum for them to buy as well.

        • noh1bvisas

          there’s very few problems that more money can’t fix. this looks fixable.

        • Prode

          Its always an option but I do believe that all the spectrum is owned by someone. So unless they sell it, no one can buy.

        • Jay Holm

          No more spectrum to buy? Huh? There is a 600mhz auction taking place right now, and last year I read that the FCC also wants to auction off 400mhz. . .there is always more spectrum, and more technology to deploy, always!!! By 2020 we will likely be pulling down 600mbps-1gbps!!!

        • Romdude

          You do realize the reason verizon is trading lower spectrum for tmobile’s higher spectrum is because they are trading to each other what they need more? Verizon needs higher spectrum that provides more speed to avoid its speeds from degrading. The spectrum being sold is for lower band spectrum which won’t help verizon as much, they will probably bid on it to again trade to tmobile and sprint.

        • Jay Holm

          Isn’t Band 66, which is being deployed now, higher spectrum? Also, regardless if spectrum is high band or low band, combining it with carrier aggregation will still help for faster speeds.

        • Romdude

          Probably not by a lot. Verizon would never trade any spectrum to Tmobile unless it was from its cold dead hands let alone spectrum that Tmobile needs the most if it doesn’t need high bands spectrum.

        • Prode

          I know there is that but that is about it. So unless a company is willing to sell their current stuff, there just isn’t any really out there to buy. Also there is no way to know how much MHz TMO or any other carrier will get. It could only be 5mhz which wont give much speed.

      • Trevnerdio

        T-Mobile has the highest density of towers among the top 3 because their frequency is the highest, hence short range.

      • Jay Holm

        There are tons of things happening to further LTE’s capabilities, carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO, 256 QAM. . .this isn’t 2010 anymore, LTE is starting to truly mature,. . .technology is keeping up with demand just fine!

    • Fabian Cortez


      They are a data-centric carrier with a network to back it up.

      All of the zero-rating (speed tests, music, video, etc.) has definitely taken a toll on the network, yet they still have the fastest LTE network for 10 consecutive quarters.

    • George Salcedo

      T-Mobile in the Bellflower area has been terrible for about 5 years. T-Mobile keeps blaming it on congestion

      • noh1bvisas

        lemme guess, you haven’t tried it in 5 years.

        • Robert


    • Jay Holm

      Supposedly the 600mhz auction is and has been taking place. . .just not news as of yet.

  • noh1bvisas

    i rarely turn on my wifi. why bother?

    • Trevnerdio

      Battery saving lol

      • SirStephenH

        Your response makes no sense. Using WiFi instead of cellular uses MORE power. He’s already saving battery power by leaving WiFi off.

        • I believe wifi uses LESS power (shorter range) though using both radios is probably more.

        • Bonedatt

          I don’t think it is a “one size fits all” situation. I thought it depends on how good (strong) and close (range) the network signal is to your device. If your phone is constantly searching for a good signal from the cellular network tower, wouldn’t that draw more power? Same thing if your WiFi signal isn’t that great, that would also draw more power. That’s just my 2¢

        • Trevnerdio

          Not so. The cellular radio uses more power than WiFi does. Putting the cellular radio’s data on idle and having a consistently strong WiFi signal

          This guy explains it a little better here

    • Sonos.

  • Zach Chadwick

    There’s a Tower near Jefferson Pointe in Fort Wayne, IN that I would regularly pull 25-50mbps down. Although yesterday, I tested it after not doing so for a few months, and I was able to pull down 88mbps. It was insanely fast. My home ISP provides 30mpbs to my house lol.

  • George Salcedo

    It’s because many low income T-Mobile customers don’t have home internet to use.

    • Walt

      Or just no need for wifi. I have 8gb of tethering on my $60 with metro (used for my ipad and laptop) and hook up my iPhone to the tv via an apple cable so i can watch netflix. I Save $50 a month not needing to purchase wifi :)

    • Omar Boyer

      Thats stupid im paying for time Warner 300 mbps internet 2 house phones and cable tv on 4 Tvs with Dvr included . And have tmobile as my cellphone carrier.

    • Matt

      That is a poor inference. T-Mobile is far more data-friendly than the other carriers. Therefore, this comes as no surprise. T-Mobile is not just for low income customers.

      • George Salcedo

        I never said T-Mobile was just for low income customers. I have T-Mobile myself, 15 lines actually. There’s tons of low income T-Mobile customers with no access to home wifi so I’m sure this affects the finding in this study as well. Unlimited data of course is the main reason for the results but there are other factors as well. Guess I better read the full report for the breakdown.

        • JMccovery

          I have a feeling that there are far more “low income” customers that actually have internet than you think.

          There’s still a ton of DSL subs in this country; add in the people that were able to get Comcast HSI for cheap due to merger conditions (even if Comcast did everything it could to not advertise it).

          The question is if the service they have is worth dealing with, versus their cell phone data.

        • Jay Holm

          I don’t have home wifi, to me it doesn’t make sense to pay for Internet TWICE, once for mobile and again for home. Maybe if I had someone to split the bill with them it might be worth it to me. But I’m happy with T-Mobile’s Unlimited data on my S7.

        • TheCudder

          You’re more likely to find low income cell users on regional carriers or things like Straight Talk, Net10, Cricket, etc.

    • noh1bvisas

      troll much?

    • Acdc1a

      I’m far from low income and I have no desire to give any of my money to AT&T or ComShaft.

    • Frank Wallace

      I’m sure as hell not low income! Show us your taxes!

      • Adam

        I would, but I am currently being audited.

  • Terry martini

    I have T-mobile and love it.. It is great.

    • Jay Holm

      Me too! Been with T-Mobile for over 3yrs! Can’t wait for that update next month for 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM, to see how blazing fast speeds will be!!!

  • Fabian

    Verizon’s celullar and wi-fi usage are very similar by content to say that people wait until they have wi-fi to use their apps or use the data consuming apps. There’s the Facebook app, then Chrome, then maps, in other words they do more browsing. The other carrier’s users use the YouTube app far more that the Chrome browser.

    I think the main cause for the big difference could be age difference and one group being more productivity focused and the other entertainment focused.

    • Fabian

      I should have put that in the article.

      *scratches head*

      Just kidding.

    • UniBroW

      Disagree, I know a few people on Verizon that won’t use their phone or have data disabled completely unless they are on wifi (at least when you got overages)

      • Jay Holm

        Gosh that is so sad for them!!! So glad to be on T-Mobile and be able to actually USE my smartphone! People are under this illusion wifi, unrestricted/open wifi is everywhere, it isn’t, I don’t have open wifi at work, at home it’s too weak where my room is located…wifi just isn’t viable.

  • Nobody Special

    Do another test but remove the “Binge On” feature and remove the unlimited data plan from this scenario .. and the outcome would be very different. People that have an unlimited plan are more apt to use apps via cellular means.

    wait a minute…. me accessing my apps is protected under privacy laws… stop looking at how customers use our data and concentrate on protecting our privacy.

    This test doesn’t make any sense… so erase all the copies of this article and I will testify to Congress that the dog ate the report… Congress won’t do anything because i will plead the 5th amendment.

  • Bonedatt

    Yeah my home WiFi are for non T-Mobile devices like my chromecast, Apple TV, WiFi tablets, Blu-ray player, Wii, Printer, laptops etc. My cell phone has a grandfathered unlimited data plan that I pay for… so I use mobile data all day on my phone.

    • Demetrius Mckinnon

      Yeah, i also have the unlimited plan also , I’ve talked to several Tmobile reps over the phone and in the stores about this new Tmobile1 data plan and they recommend against it. They say my bill would be $20 more expensive and with all data plan, LIMITED and UNLIMITED they do CAP off and slow down because it’s regulated by law that they do so. Other carriers have to do this too.

  • Jay Holm

    Of course T-Mobile customers use more data, we aren’t restricted or held back by puny amounts of data like ATT/Vzn customers are,…we can actually USE our smartphones! I work night shift 3x/week and watch a lot of Netflix. . .

    • Aleks

      How do you know that the auction is taking place? This is quite important as I hope T-Mobile is doing well if that should be the case. I’d sure like an update on this as it would justify their stance as we wouldn’t have any idea how high the bids are currently running for. Hmmmm…..

      • Jay Holm

        Postings links on this website is difficult and complicated, just Google “600mhz auction start date”, it is underway…I would love an update also, but I think it is all confidential and anonymous until it is completely over…

  • thatuptowncat37

    As a Tmobile customer…I learned the hard way ….USE of your apps over cellular as opposed to wifi, which I may add is an additional cost and you WILL pay the cost, is the best way to go!! Whether its Binge ON or Music Freedom…..26 gigabits is the thresh hold for deprioritization….based of course area and congestion….A lot of Tmo users do not know this and Tmo doesnt tell you in any customary way….they let you reach your peak and then SLOW you down!! My point is simply this…if you have a wifi connection, which you have to pay for in addition to, is your best way to go because app use over cellular is gonna cost you in the long run…#nothingisfreeortrulyunlimited

  • Mi

    The question of the day is freedom and binge on included in the data report. Also interesting is that if you use wifi for all this app use your probably using wifi calling. So.who needs unlimited anymore with pLentyful wifi out there.

  • guest

    The deprioritization happens mainly around peak times of the day where the towers near you receive the most congestion.
    So it could be you’re on WIFI or not on your phone when that happens. For me it happens around 6-9pm at night, but it varies from day to day.

  • FILa

    i pay more for comcast at home and get shitty speeds compared to T-Mobile. about 29Mbps down / 2 up from Comcast vs 45+ Mbps / 11 up from T-Mobile. Comcast has their plans priced so ridiculous speed to price. I keep my WiFi off on my phone and use my unlimited T-Mobile plan

    • kev2684

      Damn then I’m lucky then. Not Google Fiber Lucky, but at least my Comcast was $78.99 tax included 75mbps down (hitting 85-90mbps regularly) and now I’m in the promotional bundle with Digital Economy in HD (AMC, Cartoon Network, Lifetime, Food Network, Disney Channel, etc.) for like $54.99 plus tax with the same internet speeds. T-Mobile has yet to deploy Band 12 in Jacksonville and I live with tall trees blocking the towers so I have no choice but to go Wi-Fi or suffer from Edge.

      • Walt

        Switch to cricket if t-mobile doesnt work for you

        • kev2684

          No, Thank you. I’ve had Cricket before switching back to T-Mo on their $55 20gb plan. the throttling isn’t for me and I’m never letting go of T-Mobile’s $150 3+1 Free Unlimited Everything no throttle + 7gb Tethering on each line. Once Band 12 is up it’s over I’m theirs

  • Dan

    Has this been fixed? Anybody having any issues on 25.2?

  • #Broken EMMAtaining The Boss!

    If 22mbps is your throttled speed, then that’s pretty dann good. That’s about in line with speeds I’ve been getting all over New Orleans.

  • #Broken EMMAtaining The Boss!

    Ever since I got tmo one it feels like my ISP knows I do and tries everything to block my phone from having a decent connection. I’ve just stopped using my wifi on my phone and have been using data almost exclusively while at home.