A new survey by US firm Devicescape said that Wi-Fi usage doubles for consumers on 4G networks at a similar rate to how their cellular data usage increases.
The survey found that average monthly Wi-Fi usage among LTE users increased from 1GB to 2GB. Data usage on the cellular network grew from 0.7GB to 1.5GB when users upgraded from 3G to 4G, it said.
The results are in contrast to a recent survey by EE of its UK subscribers that found a significant proportion of its LTE base are using fewer or no public Wi-Fi hotspots.
The two surveys highlight what is likely to be an increasingly lively debate in coming months: What is the role of Wi-Fi when subscribers upgrade to high-speed LTE?
Devicescape, whose own business is based on Wi-Fi, argued its findings could be explained as follows: “As mobile data consumption increases, with richer services such as video and music streaming, this usage increase spills over into other times of the day including when users are connected to Wi-Fi. Users get accustomed to richer applications and access these over both 4G and Wi-Fi. The result is a doubling in total wireless usage”.
The Devicescape data was compiled from “tens of millions” of registered Android devices that run the vendor’s client, which is deployed by mobile operators, or its app. Its software is commercially deployed by operators in the US and Europe. The app is available globally. The six-month study ran from March to August 2013.
Devicescape’s website describes the vendor as offering “a unique combination of intelligent network selection and the world’s largest curated virtual network of amenity Wi-Fi hotspots;” clearly, the company has a vested interest in growing the usage of Wi-Fi technology.