comScore, Inc., a leading source of digital business analytics, released last week an analysis of Internet usage via mobile subscription and Wi-Fi utilization on smartphones in the United States and United Kingdom.
Using a census-level behavioural data as basis, the study used a share of unique smartphones that avail the Internet services offered by their operator and connect to Wi-Fi networks as samples to provide for better understanding of the Internet connection patterns across markets. It was found that a significant bulk of iPhones connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi networks more than Android phones.
“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.”
An analysis of Wi-Fi and mobile Internet usage across unique smartphones on the iOS and Android platform in the United States manifests that 71 percent of all distinct iPhones use both mobile and Wi-Fi networks for web access, while only 32 percent of Android phones do so. Another analysis of the same variables in the United Kingdom shows a similar result with 87 percent of unique iPhones using both mobile and Wi-Fi networks for Internet connection, compared to a lower 57 percent of Android phones using both methods of connection.
However, results on Internet usage by way of mobile networks alone show a different pattern. In the U.S., only 29 percent of the unique iPhones browse the Internet using only the Internet service offered by the operator, while 68 percent of unique Android phones do the same. Results in the U.K. do not differ much. A mere 13 percent of all distinct iPhones access the web only through mobile networks, whereas 43 percent of all Android phones use the same type of connection.
The report also reveals that 69 percent of all unique smartphones in the U.K. connected to the Internet through both mobile and Wi-Fi network connections shown in comparison to the 38 percent of unique smartphones in the U.S. smartphones subscribed to the AT&T network have a higher probability of using Wi-Fi than those subscribed to other major operators, possibly because of the having both a larger iPhone market and share and the widest Wi-Fi hotspot network in America. Smartphones subscribed to Vodafone, Telefonica, and Orange have more tendencies to utilize Wi-Fi than others on other U.K. network providers.
“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,” says 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.”