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iPhone 5 users gobble up the most data in Europe, study says

Owners of Apple's latest phone chew up 50 percent more data than do iPhone 4S users, says a study from mobile analytics firm Arieso.

Apple's iPhone 5
Apple's iPhone 5.

iPhone 5 users in Europe are keeping mobile networks busy by eating up the most data.

Among 125 devices included in a study out today by Arieso, users of the newest iPhone downloaded 50 percent more data than did those with an iPhone 4S and four times as much as did those with an iPhone 3G. But Samsung users also proved to be big data hogs, at least in terms of uploads.

Owners of the Galaxy S3 took first place in terms of the amount of data uploaded, followed by those with the Galaxy Note 2. That put the iPhone 5 owners in third place in the amount of photos, videos, and other files uploaded.

Samsung tablet owners are also heating up mobile networks. Those with the 10.1-inch Samsung Tab 2.0 downloaded 20 percent more data than did those with iPads, according to mobile analytics company Arieso.

Overall, smartphone users outshone tablet owners in consuming data. Among the top 10 data gobblers, 6 were smartphones, 3 were tablets, and 1 was considered a "phablet." In the rankings, tablet users took fourth, eighth, and ninth places.

"This is pretty counterintuitive, but it seems the capabilities of the newest smartphones -- not tablets -- are unleashing even greater user demand," Arieso CTO Michael Flanagan said in a statement. "Regardless of device type and operating system, there is very little variation in the usage 'signature' between smartphone users and between tablet users. From this we discover that voice-capable 'phablets' -- like the Samsung Galaxy Note II -- are currently being used like smartphones, not tablets."

Last year's study showed that 1 percent of users downloaded 50 percent of the data on 3G/UMTS networks.

This year's revealed that 1 percent downloaded 40 percent of the data, while 10 percent chewed up 80 percent. LTE is also rearing its head in that equation.

"The region we studied this year has recently launched LTE, and we're already seeing extreme users -- especially those with dongles -- starting to flock to 4G," Flanagan said. "In many respects, this is great news -- LTE networks are doing their job. But the consumption levels and patterns of LTE use are very different to what operators could expect from 3G. It's a complex, fluid, and increasingly high stakes situation for operators to deal with."

The full report focused on a single tier-one European carrier. But Arieso considers it relevant to other markets as it finds data consumption relatively constant across different regions. Arieso analyzes mobile data for network carriers.