Apple devices top Android on 3G networks

iPad 3 promo video (wireless and cellular networking)

We’ve always contended that while Android has a numerical advantage over Apple’s iOS, the iPhone and iPad see much greater usage.

More evidence of that belief: more than half of all 3G cellular traffic comes from Apple devices.

When combined, the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 account for about 53 percent of all 3G cellular traffic. Adding the iPad boosts the number to nearly 60 percent, according to a firm that analyzes cell network traffic. Where is Android? Samsung’s Galaxy S, S2 and S3 combined make up a bit over eighteen percent of 3G traffic…

According to Actix, which tracked for six months 3G traffic during the busiest hours, BlackBerry handsets accounted for a bit more than three percent of cellular usage. Nokia doesn’t even appear on the radar.

By the way, Apple introduced a new feature in iOS 7 that will allow iPhone and iPad owners control how much cellular data usage is allocated either to the device as a whole or on a per-app basis.


Another interesting wrinkle in the 3G data: the growing importance of tablets.

Although most iPads connect via Wi-Fi and the iPhone placed in the top three positions of cellular usage, the analysis found tablets consume data at a rate three times that of handsets.

Key takeaways:

  • iPad 2 and iPad 3 rank 6th and 7th in the list of most data hungry devices
  • These iPads consume three times more mobile data than an average smartphone
  • This is a four-fold increase in network traffic from iPads in the past six months and the first time any tablet has been amongst the top 10 ranking devices

It’s interesting how Actix terms the rise of tablets “the second phase in the mobile data revolution started by the iPhone in 2007.”

All of which makes me wonder why carriers want Android devices.

Despite their numerical advantage, despite being dirt cheap, Android smart devices don’t pay off when it comes to the current cellular holy grail: the data plan.

Would you agree that Actix survey reflects real-life device usage?