*Though there hasn’t been much information from Apple about the so-called iPhone 6 yet, here’s something that you can pretty much rely on: If you buy the next iPhone, you’re probably going to require a whole lot more data. And since unlimited data plans have become increasingly scarce, that may mean bigger bills.
According to independent telecommunications analyst, Chetan Sharma, “The average data consumption roughly doubles with every generation of iPhone.” Sharma consults for wireless companies and sent an email to the Huffington Post explaining this, adding, “So I expect it to be true for 6 as well.”
According to analysts, wireless data consumption will skyrocket in the coming years. In 2013, the average mobile customer in the U.S. used 1.4 gigabytes per month, according to Cisco, the networking equipment company. That number is expected to increase more than six-fold, to 9.1 gigabytes per month by 2018.
What this means is: An hour of streaming Netflix in HD can use up as much as 3GB, while an hour of streaming Pandora on its default setting consumes 14 megabytes, according to those companies. (This is why a connection to a Wi-Fi network when watching Netflix is best.) An hour of video chatting on FaceTime uses 204 megabytes, while an hour of watching YouTube videos can use 360 megabytes, according to Cisco.
T-Mobile has made it harder for other wireless companies to keep costs high, but nevertheless, data costs today is expensive.
AT&T and Verizon combined control more than two-thirds of the wireless market in the U.S., but they no longer offer unlimited data plans. A two-year contract at either company for a 10 gigabytes per month plan starts at $140 a month, not including taxes and other fees.
“I do think there will be an effort by carriers to charge more, but they’re also going to have to offer more data and continue to improve the quality of experience,” said Thomas Barnett, the director of thought leadership at Cisco. “The data plans have to go higher to support more usage and more devices.”