Recently I have been trying to find studies on how people consume data on Internet during a typical day, in order to find out what is the proportion of data volume actually done in conditions of mobility and the rest which done in fixed locations. Although I think it could be a very interesting subject for a thesis or a research paper, I could not find anything. So I tried to come up my own evaluation.

We know the challenge that Mobile Operators face with the exponential growth of mobile data consumption pushed by new usages (4K/3D videos, virtual reality, AI and IoT for instance).

Mobile network capacity vs demand

Facing this challenge, operators and manufacturers are trying to come up with new technical solutions to keep increasing the volume of data that can be transferred on the radio network (higher order modulations, more MIMO, antennna beamforming, use of millimeter wave spectrum, etc.).

I am convinced that I will never be possible to find the ultimate solution, and that traffic will always grow faster than capacity increases brought by improvement of technology. In this case, the only economically viable way to sustain the growth is offloading part of this data volume on another last mile.

How much data do I really need in mobility?

I used my Android Data Usage function to analyze my data usage during a typical day.

First, I did the breakdown of data consumption per application during one month, both on cellular and Wi-Fi network. I am using about 30 GB of data each month, split into 25GB on LTE and 5GB on Wi-Fi. This is mainly because my Wi-Fi connection at home is very bad:

Application Cellular (GB) WiFi (GB) Total (GB)
Youtube 17.82 2.85 20.67
Chrome 1.86 0.404 2.264
iTele 1.48 0.009 1.489
Android OS 1.22 0.061 1.281
Facebook 1.13 0.35 1.48
Google Play Store 0.98 0.284 1.264
LinkedIn 0.213 0.087 0.3
Photos 0.175 0.407 0.582
WordPress 0.16 0.099 0.259
Gmail 0.149 0.187 0.336
Messenger 0.128 0.012 0.14
Google App 0.125 0.03 0.155
Google Play Services 0.12 0.043 0.163
Tethering 0.07 0 0.07
Whatsapp 0.065 0.009 0.074
Maps 0.053 0.077 0.13
Pages Manager 0.052 0.008 0.06
Twitter 0.05 0.006 0.056
Drive 0.04 0.006 0.046
Skype 0.036 0.007 0.043
TuneIn Radio 0.005 0 0.005
News and Weather 0.003 0.001 0.004

Second, depending on the appplication, I spread that traffic on each of the 24 hours of the day from 6:45 AM when I wake up until 23:59 PM when I go to bed. I assumed my mobile phone does not do any traffic in between.


For most of the applications, I assumed that I use them equally during the entire day (so I spread the data consumption equally on the 17.25 hours when I am awake), but  for some, I restricted their usage on a specific time period, typically Video Streaming and Internet Radio are only done at home or in my car (when I am not driving 😉 ).


Third, I split traffic between the time when I am usually at home (typically from 7:00 PM to 7:59 AM).


Finally, I come up with the following data usage breakdown:


Conclusion is that although I am consuming 85% of my data volume in one month over LTE and the rest over Wi-Fi, I am doing 84% of it at home and 16% in real mobility.

Situation Consumption (GB) Proportion
Home 25.8 84%
Mobility 5.1 16%

With a good fixed internet connection at home and a more affordable price per MB than on LTE, I would immediately divide my mobile data consumption by 5 while keeping the same or a higher usage.

It’s not a great method, and I wish I could find an app that would log my data consumption on a map with lat and lon for each MB to refine the study, but the bottomline is that combining an offer with Fixed and Mobile broadband, with a better experience and/or a lower price on the fixed part, can solve the issue of exponential increase of mobile data traffic, as eventually, we don’t really need to be mobile for most of the data volume we consume.

This can be completed with some public hotspots in specific locations (small cells, Wi-Fi).

Do you have better data or analysis on this split between mobile and home or fixed usage?