Abstract

Cellular data consumption is an important issue for users and network operators. However,
little is understood about data consumption differences between similar apps, smartphone
platforms, and different classes of users. We examine data consumption behavior in the
lab, comparing different apps of the same category, comparing the same top apps across
different platforms, and comparing network APIs that apps use across different platforms.
We also collect data from 387 Android users in India, where users pay for cellular data
consumed, with little prevalence of unlimited data plans. Our findings can inform users on
how their choice of platform and apps has a drastic impact on their data bill. Our findings
can also inform operators on how to use incentives to induce desired data consumption.