ComScore released results from a report today suggesting iPhone users utilize Wi-Fi networks significantly more than Android users. 71% of all iPhones are used with both mobile and Wi-Fi networks, while only 32% of Android phones are used with both types of connection. This startling disparity raises questions about what type of demographic or geographic causes may lie at the root of the statistic.
“With the rise in adoption of smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices, network operators have seen a surge in mobile web activity and face new challenges in keeping up with data demands while maintaining their quality of service,” said Serge Matta, comScore President of Operator and Mobile Solutions. “As bandwidth usage increases and the spectrum becomes more scarce, operators, OEMs, and others in the mobile ecosystem should understand the different dynamics between the use of mobile and Wi-Fi networks to develop strategies to optimize resources and provide their customers with continued high-quality network service.”
As you can see in the chart, another bit of data parsed out by comScore is that UK smartphone users, both Android and iPhone, use Wi-Fi more than their U.S. counterparts. Matta thinks this may be the key to understanding these statistics.
“The difference in mobile and Wi-Fi network usage across the U.S. and U.K. suggests that there are a few factors at play affecting Wi-Fi utilization rates,” said Matta. “In the U.K., the scarcity of unlimited data plans and higher incidence of smartphone pre-paid contracts with a pay-as-you-go data model likely contributes to data offloading among users wanting to economize their mobile usage. In addition, the current lack of high-speed data networks in the U.K. might also lead users to seek out higher bandwidth capacity on Wi-Fi networks. In the U.S., the increased availability of LTE, 4G and other high-speed data networks currently make it less necessary for smartphone users to offload, but it’s also possible that the diminishing availability of unlimited cellular data plans will eventually push more usage to Wi-Fi.”
So there you have it. Apparently Android users in the U.S. are spoiled by less expensive data plans with higher caps. As an Android user, I can vouch that I rarely use Wi-Fi. Of course, this has more to do with the fact that my dying Nexus One’s Wi-Fi reception is all but nil at this point. How about you? Are the data plans with diminishing caps and rising prices pushing you toward using Wi-Fi more often? Leave a comment below.