Here’s the claim from Jennifer Byrne, Verizon’s business development executive director, made during the paidContent Mobile conference on Tuesday (emphasis mine):
“On Droid X, we’re seeing something like 5x the data usage of any other device.”
I’m skeptical. Droid X may be Verizon’s flagship smartphone at the moment, but it’s not the only one likely to consume lots of data. For Android alone, there’s the Droid Incredible, Droid Eris and plain old Droid, and I have a hard time accepting that Droid X users are suddenly way more likely to gobble up bandwidth. The only difference between Droid X and is peers is the option of becoming a mobile hotspot for $20 per month, and if that’s causing the data spike, it says more about mobile hotspot use than it does about the phone itself.
Still, the essence of Byrne’s statement is probably valid: Verizon’s seeing a huge uptick in mobile data use thanks to the popularity of Android smartphones, lending credence to the rumors that Verizon will nix unlimited data plans in favor of tiered packages.
The spike in data use also amounts to a day of reckoning for Verizon. The carrier has said in the past that it’s equipped to handle the kind of traffic generated by an iPhone. Obviously, Verizon would be dealing with a lot more bandwidth demand if it ever got the iPhone, but think of the Android invasion as a sneak preview. If Verizon can handle this, it may have a chance at dealing with Apple’s traffic.