iPhone 5s gobbles up 'unprecedented' amounts of data, research finds

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Your iPhone 5s has its data cake and eats it, too. Image: CNET

Apple's latest smartphone remains the "hungriest" mobile data consumer, according to a new research report.

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JDSU Research (formerly Arieso) revealed this week the iPhone 5s, the high-end flagship device in Apple's tag-team smartphone line-up, gobbles up to seven times as much as the benchmark iPhone 3G.

With the research extending outside of the Western developed areas for the first time, emerging market users can be seen to consume as much as twenty-times as much data as when they did with the third-generation iPhone.

Partly due to the device's 4G and LTE connectivity, the iPhone 5s was described as the most "voracious" device out of 150 devices tested, "with unprecedented increases in uplink and downlink data demands," according to the research paper's author Michael Flanagan.

It's the fourth year in a row that an Apple smartphone has been named as the most data-hungry device, topping the HTC Sensation and the Sony Xperia in third and fourth place, and Samsung's Galaxy S4 in ninth place.

Seven in the top ten developed market smartphones are Apple smartphones or tablets of various generations, the report noted, and six in the top ten for developing markets.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 8.41.29 AM
Where the iPhone 3G represents "100%" Image: JDSU

However, when it came to uplink data, Samsung users are at the top of the chart.

Samsung Galaxy S4 users produced and uploaded five-times as much data as iPhone 3G users in developed markets and about eleven-times as much data in developing markets.

Next-generation mobile broadband speeds, including 4G (HSPA+) and LTE connectivity, are ten-times more "extreme" in terms of data consumption, the report said.

"This year, the research reveals 0.1 percent of 4G users consume more than half of the entire LTE downlink data. As such, 4G users are 10 times more data hungry than 3G users, of whom 1 percent still consume half of the 3G downlink data," the research firm said.

Interestingly for emerging markets, where next-generation speeds are a highly sought commodity but remains scarce, data consumption was significantly higher relative to the iPhone 3G standard.

There are two factors at play: the iPhone 3G had little data consumption per user in these markets, while the absence of other high-volume data devices — including mobile broadband cards, dongles, and tablets — results in a higher concentration of smartphone data use.