All the excitement surrounding carrier-grade Wi-Fi and small-cell convergence was justified by research released at the Mobile World Congress. Total Wi-Fi data usage far exceeds cellular, according to a report by Mobidia Technology and Informa Telecoms & Media.
In fact, Wi-Fi data usage topped cellular data by a factor of two to one. Wi-Fi accounted for 70 percent of all smartphone-originated traffic, and 91 percent of smartphone subscribers use Wi-Fi for data usage purposes, according to results tabulated by Mobidia’s device-based analytics solution.
“We were quite surprised with the findings,” said Mobidia Vice President of Marketing Chris Hill. “Not only did we find that data usage on smartphones was much higher than the typical 100 megabytes to 500 megabytes average monthly usage that is often cited, but we also found that Wi-Fi usage often outpaced mobile usage by as much as six-to-one in some countries.”
Informa and Mobidia collaborated to analyze data collected in January 2012 from tens of thousands of global smartphone users to determine data-usage trends. This data was collected on a strictly anonymous and opt-in basis from a sample of the more than 600,000 people who have downloaded Mobidia’s smartphone application, My Data Manager. The data sample represents smartphone users from more than 600 mobile operators worldwide.
In another, separate market report, Analyst Chetan Sharma of Chetan Sharma Consulting notes that nine out of every ten tablets sold in the United States are Wi-Fi-only, not connected to the cellular network. The reason, he posits, is that users of mobile phones are reluctant to pay cellular airtime charges for two devices.