According to new data from partners Strategy Analytics and P3, users on Sprint's network have been using more mobile data lately, and shying away from Wi-Fi just a bit. The report states that Sprint users' average mobile data use per day went up to 101 megabytes per day from only 89 megabytes, and Wi-Fi usage went down from 168 megabytes per day to 155 megabytes. According to the report, this may be attributable at least in part to Sprint's introduction of two new unlimited data plan options, Unlimited Freedom back in August and the much more full-featured, but speed-limited Unlimited Freedom Premium not long after. The data shows the aforementioned jumps and drops in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to usage patterns for the rest of the year.
P3, a consulting and engineering firm, managed to collect data from 2,300 smartphone users across the nation for a grand total of about 11 million data samples in the United States during the fourth quarter of 2016 alone. P3's data collection did not occur on a per-app basis, which makes it impossible to figure out exactly what users are doing with their newfound unlimited data. Additionally, though the data correlates with the release of Sprint's new unlimited options, their data did not indicate if the crop of users showing increased cellular data usage are actually on the unlimited data plans, or if the general trend could be for another reason.
While data was only collected on Sprint, they are certainly not the only competitor in the unlimited data arena. Indeed, only Verizon is a holdout among the major carriers at this point, though unlimited data on AT&T does require a subscription to an applicable DIRECTV or U-verse plan. T-Mobile's recent rollout of their T-Mobile ONE plans, meanwhile, marked a return to the unlimited data circuit for the Un-Carrier. For now, Verizon is giving no indication of flipping the switch for unlimited data for the foreseeable future. This means that the data collected from Sprint users may just be somewhat applicable to the market as a whole, with the exception of Verizon users, as useful prediction metric for network engineers and wireless executives drawing up company plans.