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You think you use a lot of smart phone data?

Toronto, Dec. 16/09 - Staff at Wind Mobile as Wind Mobile, a subsidiary of Globalive Holdings opened the first store at 207 Queen's Quay West in Toronto, Ontario, Canada becoming the newest Canadian national wireless provider assist new customers at the Toronto location. Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

I wanted to ask Wind Mobile chairman Anthony Lacavera, author of Canada's first unlimited data plans for smart phones, a pretty simple question.

So I phoned him up and said, "Can you put me in touch with the person who has used the most amount of data on your network?"

Journalists bug busy people with requests like this all the time. A few weeks ago I asked Bell Canada to let me sit in one of their call centres and listen in on random calls. And I wrote this article. That's how journalism works, sort of.

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Anyway, he said he would try. A few days later, he got back to me. He had a compromise. I accepted -- mainly since neither of us actually wanted to meet somebody who manages to go through 118 gigabytes of wireless data in one month.

And thus, exclusive to the Globe on Technology blog, a list.

The Top 10 Heaviest Users of Data on Wind Mobile's Cellular Network (Measured in Gigabytes Per Month)

  1. 118.56
  2. 95.12
  3. 55.32
  4. 51.70
  5. 44.51
  6. 39.21
  7. 33.72
  8. 33.59
  9. 28.94
  10. 26.85

About half of those are mobile data sticks and half of them are smart phone tetherers, who are attaching their smart phone to their laptop and using it as a modem. Wind Mobile, if you're wondering, does have a "fair use" or throttling policy that squeezes users who fly over 5 gigs per month if there's network congestion on the local cell tower (or cell site, as many in Toronto are on rooftops). Because Wind only launched in December, there's a pretty good possibility that their network still has plenty of space; though there is also the possibility that these people are consuming this data in "off hours" -- or that they prefer to download these types of things in the dark.

And, yes, you read that list correctly. Someone out there has managed to chew through 118 gigabytes of data in one month. One-hundred and eighteen. "They're just pounding it," Mr. Lacavera said, laughing. "It's truly unprecedented data consumption."

Unprecedented, to be sure. Filthy and retrograde and immoral and sinful? Probably! But, man, 118 gigs deserves some sort of award. And some people, Mr. Lacavera said, are even hosting websites off of smart phones and attempting some sort of mini Internet Service Provider (ISP) businesses by operating servers. That much of this is likely peer-to-peer file-sharing goes without saying. Perhaps someone should alert Canada's Industry Minister, @TonyClement_MP, and let him know that his knew copyright bill may have its hands full in the brave new wireless era.

But wait, that's not all. Not by a long shot. Someone out there is looking at this list and thinking: "Suckers." That's because, as Mr. Lacavera informed me when we spoke in very late May, someone in Wind Mobile land is on track to reach 200 gigabytes of data.

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Because he's unaware of any other person on earth who has ever managed to accomplish this, he phoned the GSM Association in London, England, and submitted that they may have broken some kind record. If there's an award ceremony that goes with that, let's all agree to stay very, very far away.

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