Dec 30, 2017

Mobile users blow through 25% more data than last year

A woman watches TV on her iPhone. Photo: Getty

The average U.S. smartphone user now gobbles up 31.4 gigabytes of data a month, a 25% increase since last year, according to NPD Group and reported by Twice. That's roughly the equivalent of streaming 31 hours of standard-definition video on Netflix.

Why it's happening: The major U.S. wireless companies now all offer unlimited data plans, allowing consumers to blow through as much data as they want without incurring extra fees or having to seek out Wi-Fi hotspots for bandwidth-heavy downloads. Streaming video accounts for 83% of total data consumed, per NPD.

What it means: As consumers spend more and more time on their mobile devices, media companies are tailoring content to be consumed on smaller screens and on the go. It's also driving traditional cable and pay-TV providers like Comcast and Charter to add wireless components to their businesses as subscribers continue to cut the cord. And smartphone makers are designing the next generation of phones with this in mind – for example, Microsoft has filed a patent for a two-screen smart phone.

Go deeper: Axios' Ina Fried tells us what to expect in next year's smartphones.

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Cruise ship evacuations: More Americans test positive for coronavirus

A bus carrying American citizens from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship arrives at the U.S. government-chartered aircraft that is taking them back to the United States while authorities wear protective suits look on at Haneda airport in Tokyo on Monday. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Another 14 passengers tested positive for the novel coronavirus during their evacuation from the Diamond Princess cruise ship before being flown in a "specialist containment" area of the plane to the United States, per a Trump administration statement early Monday.

Details: Over 40 Americans who had been on the ship had previously been confirmed as infected and will remain in Japanese hospitals for treatment, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "Face the Nation" Sunday. The rest were evacuated, and these latest cases were among them. All evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival later Monday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 56 mins ago - Health

GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand and winding down operations in the two countries and Thailand by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The Holden brand has been in Australia and New Zealand for 160 years, per a GM statement issued in Australia. It is beloved by many motor racing fans down under. Holden produced Australia's first wholly locally made car in 1948.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

See photosArrow4 hours ago - World