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updated 3/2/2012 11:25:47 AM ET 2012-03-02T16:25:47

More and more cellphone carriers are capping the amount of data that customers can use each month, and cutting speeds for those who exceed the limit. (Recently, one AT&T customer successfully sued the carrier for cutting back speeds on what had been advertised as an “unlimited” plan.)

If the new monthly data limits worry you, there is one bright spot: People may not be depending mainly on cellular service to get online, anyway.

According to a February report by research firm NPD Connected Intelligence to its clients, owners of Android phones received about 58 percent of their data over Wi-Fi. The findings, which NPD shared exclusively with TechNewsDaily, were based on monitoring software that the firm installed on the mobile phones of 700 volunteers.

The results (which don't include iPhones because the software doesn’t work on them) jibe with a global study that came out earlier this week by analyst firm Telecoms & Media and networking company Mobidia Technology. They collected data from about 180,000 people running software on their Android phones. For the U.S. they found that about 63 percent of data goes through Wi-Fi.

“Smartphone users rely on Wi-Fi for speed and cellular data bucket limitations,” Brad Akyuz, a research director at NPD, told TechNewsDaily by  email. “Users with unlimited plans, such as Sprint’s, would still be on Wi-Fi for heavy data-consuming activities such as video streaming because of more reliable speed.”

Just remember, using Wi-Fi (as well as cellular) drains your battery faster.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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