If you’ve ever wondered what killed off AT&T’s unlimited bandwidth plans, look no further than the App Store.
The study was performed by Finnish analytics company Zokem, which analyzed the mobile web usage of over 10,000 smartphone users across 6.5 million sessions in sixteen countries over the past year.
What Zokem found was that while a smartphone’s mobile browser — Safari, in the case of the iPhone — is still the biggest bandwidth hog on most smartphones, apps are now taking up 50% of mobile data volume. Predictably, the most popular apps across all smartphones are Facebook and Twitter.
Keep in mind that this study was not aimed at any particular platform, so iPhone users were lumped in with Android, Palm and Windows Mobile customers as well. Given how well-developed the iPhone’s App Store is compared to its competitors equivalent marketplaces, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if iOS device users use up an even larger percentage of mobile data through apps. At the end of the day, though, the disparity between app and browser usage is only going to get more profound as more media — and perhaps iTunes itself — enters the cloud.