LTE subscribers much prefer WiFi to 4G - study

LTE subscribers much prefer WiFi to 4G – study

23 JUN 2014

WiFi is the connectivity of choice among LTE subscribers. According to a study by Mobidia Technology, a provider of mobile analytics, WiFi accounted for an enormous 75-90 per cent of all mobile data consumed in “leading LTE markets”.

Mobidia sampled the behaviour of “hundreds of thousands” of Android smartphone and tablet users during the first four months of 2014. Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Russia, South Africa, UK and the US were among the markets covered.

Operators, said Mobidia, were faced with two key WiFi challenges: how to prevent WiFi eroding the mobile data business, and how to better integrate WiFi with other mobile and fixed broadband offerings to enhance the user experience.

Average Monthly MB Usage, LTE Subscribers, January–April 2014


Tight data cap restrictions on 3G and 4G is no doubt a contributory factor to WiFi popularity, and data allowances look much less generous in Asia than they do in North America and Western Europe.

According to Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index, only 2.3 per cent of mobile users in the Asia-Pacific region are on monthly plans exceeding a 2GB allowance. In North America, 21.6 per cent of mobile users are on 2GB plans or above (and 9.5 per cent in Western Europe).

Mobidia’s findings appear to fly in the face of a survey conducted by EE last year. The UK’s largest mobile operator said 43 per cent of its LTE subscribers are using fewer or no public WiFi hotspots since adopting 4G. Moreover, EE found that more and more LTE users were cutting their WiFi usage.

Mobidia’s study, unsurprisingly, also showed that LTE subscribers consume more data than their 3G counterparts, although the scale of the increase is eye-catching.

LTE subscribers in Hong Kong, for example, averaged almost 100 per cent more data consumption than 3G subscribers in the first four months of 2014.

Other findings from the study are that LTE subscribers in Japan, South Korea and the US lead the major markets in monthly data usage per subscriber. Subscribers in Japan averaged close to 3GB per month of usage in 2014.

Subscribers in South Korea, meanwhile, averaged over 12GB of mobile data consumed per month when accounting for both cellular and WiFi usage. Subscribers in Japan and Russia averaged slightly less than 10GB of data consumption.


Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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