Survey: iPhone Owners Use Significantly More Wi-Fi than Android

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iPhone owners in the U.S. and UK consume data using Wi-Fi “significantly more” than owners of Android devices, according to a new survey published by metrics firm comScore. The company found that far more iPhone owners log in to WiFi networks than their Android-using peers, especially in the UK.

“A U.S. analysis of Wi-Fi and mobile Internet usage across unique smartphones on the iOS and Android platforms reveals that 71 percent of all unique iPhones used both mobile and Wi-Fi networks to connect to the Internet, while only 32 percent of unique Android mobile phones used both types of connections,” the company said.

comScore Chart

Chart by The Mac Observer, from comScore data

Whether or not that really means anything is likely an issue of interpretation, but our takeaway is that iPhone owners get more out of their devices, and use them in places when they could otherwise use a computer, or perhaps even a tablet.

The flip side is that Android smartphone owners have recently begun using more wireless carrier data than iPhone owners. While this could be taken as the direct argument against what we just posited, comScore’s data suggests it’s because a larger percentage of data is being off-loaded to Wi-Fi networks among iPhone owners.

Partisans from either side will no doubt have a field day arguing the point.

The U.S. and UK

The survey results form comScore were also aimed at carriers, who have been struggling to keep up with data demands from smartphones of all flavors.

“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,” Serge Matta, comScore President of Operator and Mobile Solutions said in a statement.

The firm also showed specific differences in UK vs. U.S. user behavior, as shown in the two charts below, which are broken down by carrier. When looked at in this fashion, the data showed that users in the UK consumed far more of their data through Wi-FI than smartphone owners in the U.S.

comScore Char

Chart by The Mac Observer, from comScore data

comScore Char

Chart by The Mac Observer, from comScore data

According to comScore, “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 off-loading among users wanting to economize their mobile usage”

At the same time, there is a paucity of high speed mobile networks in the UK, and comScore believes that some smartphone owners turn to Wi-Fi simply because it offers a faster connection for them.

The survey didn’t break down this section of the data by platform, but rather looked at combined smartphone usage.

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2 Comments

Mikuro

Android phones have 4G, so there is less incentive to switch to wifi.

Nate

It is exactly that android phones are 4g capable. I live in seattle, and ride a train with wifi. Public wifi is typically overwhelmed, and far slower than just using my phones 4g connection.

Comes down to a hardware tradeoff. They could give the iPhone 4g but your battery life and compact form factor would suffer. Or you can stick with 3g and rely on wifi hotspots.

Has nothing to do with not using my Droid as much though.

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