Facebook dominates mobile broadband data usage

Three get all confused about data and page usage

Social media and social gaming dominate mobile broadband data traffic according to new traffic statistics released by mobile operator Three. But do we really trust the stats – read on for the sorry tale of just how confused some telecomms operators can be.

For the first time – to our knowledge – a network has released their usage statistics for mobile broadband and the results are quite interesting, particularly as mobile broadband is supposed to be all about business, but the data traffic seems to show that it’s all about being social. We say “seem” wisely here because the data the figures are based on is data downloaded, rather than time spent, or pages read, so naturally the results will skew to sites that are data heavy, like video and graphic based sites like FaceBook, where as text heavy sites MSN/Hotmail/Gmail are going to have a smaller download size.

Three’s stats for mobile broadband show that Facebook is the most popular service, according to the amount of data customers use when browsing to those websites.

Top sites visited in one week in July 2010 by Three’s mobile broadband users, based on browsing data usage.

Site Gigabytes of data
Facebook.com 7023
zynga.com 3584
apple.com 2491
google.com 1717
farmville.com 1680
msn.com 947
live.com (hotmail) 708
youtube.com 678
Microsoft.com 657
bebo.com 304

Social gaming site Zynga.com and its top game, Farmville, also feature amongst the top five sites used on Three’s mobile broadband service.

The figures are based on the volume of mobile broadband data usage information, and over June 2010 Three dealt with nearly 2,500 terabytes (2,500,000 GB) of data.

Outside of social media, Apple.com features strongly coming in as the third most popular site, driven by access to iTunes and from iPad users.

Charlotte Blanchard, Three’s Director of Internet Services and Products, said: “We’d expect to see a difference in usage patterns between fixed and mobile Internet access, but the dominance of social gaming shown in these browsing figures is particularly surprising.” All we can say is Charlotte we beg to differ you’re not measuring like with like here, and there’s a lot of difference between pages viewed and data transferred. It’s sort of worrying that some one with the job title Director of Internet Services and Products, can be so ill informed about the Internet. God help Three if this is the best they can do.

Charlotte also says “The volumes of data we’re looking at show the importance of Mobile Broadband as an internet access channel – with nearly seven terabytes of Facebook browsing data being generated in just one week – and that doesn’t count the up and download volume.” So are we to surmise that the data this is based on is just downloads and not uploads? It all gets more mysterious by the minute.

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