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.

Go deeper

Hong Kong police fire pepper pellets at demonstrators

Hong Kong riot policeissue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police fired pepper pellets at protesters and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings. He announced the measure, effective Friday, as coronavirus case numbers increased to 39,342.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.