A lack of unlimited data plans and more customers on prepaid smartphone contracts is causing UK consumers to use Wi-Fi to connect to the internet on their phone rather than 3G, new research has claimed.
A survey by comScore revealed 87% of iPhone owners used Wi-Fi and mobile internet on their devices, compared to 57% of Android owners. Customers of O2, Vodafone and Orange were more likely to use Wi-Fi to connect to the internet, which the survey's authors said was down to a lack of a dedicated unlimited data offer. Both Three and T-Mobile have unlimited data offers and their customers are more likely to browse using mobile internet, at 44% and 46% respectively.
Serge Matta, comScore president of operator and mobile solutions said: 'In the UK, the scarcity of unlimited data plans and higher incidence of smartphone prepaid contracts with a pay-as-you-go data model likely contributes to data offloading among users wanting to economise their mobile usage. In addition, the current lack of high-speed data networks in the UK might also lead users to seek out higher bandwidth capacity on Wi-Fi networks.'
The survey found on average that UK consumers were more likely to connect to the internet using Wi-Fi than mobile internet.
Matta added: '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. 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 optimise resources and provide their customers with continued high-quality network service.'
Editor: Graeme Neill