UK operator EE experienced an increase over the past year in the number of 4G customers who have either reduced or eliminated entirely their usage of public WiFi hotspots.
According to the operator’s third 4GEE Media Living Index, the proportion of its subs using fewer or no WiFi when they are out and about has reached 54 per cent.
The share of WiFi opt out has grown since August 2013 when the figure stood at 43 per cent, said the operator.
In a further finding, the survey says 30 per cent of EE’s base are using less or no home broadband. And three per cent have actually cancelled their fixed broadband subscription entirely since signing up with EE, it said.
The trend to WiFi rejection could have some interesting implications for offload strategies as operators see a shift in their subscriber bases from 3G to 4G.
There are, of course, differing views. A recent survey by Mobidia, the mobile analytics firm, found that WiFi still accounted for 75-90 per cent of all mobile data used in a number of leading 4G 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.
EE has more than four million subscribers in the UK and has over one year of data into which it can delve.
Unsurprisingly, EE’s survey also showed that data usage has increased markedly on its 4G network over the past 12 months. It has grown by 66 per cent since August 2013, outstripping 3G subscribers on both Orange and T-Mobile, the two owners of EE.