A new ComScore survey has been posted showing that iPhone users are more likely to use WiFi connections in both the U.S. and U.K. The users of Apple’s smartphone platform were 39% more likely than Android users to utilize both cellular and WiFi networks here in the U.S. and were 30% more likely to do so in the U.K.
Smartphones on AT&T’s network were more likely to use WiFi due to their deals to provide hotspots at locations like Starbucks and elsewhere. In the U.K., the networks most likely to sport hotspot users were Vodafone, Telefonica (O2) and Orange. The boost in WiFi usage in the U.K was attributed to the fact that unlimited data deals are scarce in that region by Serge Matta, comScore President of Operator and Mobile Solutions.
“In the U.K., 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 offloading among users wanting to economize their mobile usage,” Matta said. “In addition, the current lack of high-speed data networks in the U.K. might also lead users to seek out higher bandwidth capacity on Wi-Fi networks. In the U.S., the increased availability of LTE, 4G and other high-speed data networks currently make it less necessary for smartphone users to offload, but it’s also possible that the diminishing availability of unlimited cellular data plans will eventually push more usage to Wi-Fi.”
ComScore doesn’t offer a reason why Android users would lag behind iPhone users in WiFi use, but a couple of basic explanations spring to mind. By and large, especially on older versions of Android, WiFi setup and usage can be somewhat buried in menus and the service can be flaky. Some models of Android phones exhibit issues where, even though a WiFi connection is shown to be active, the connection would not transmit data.
While newer versions of Android appear to have fixed the problem, there is likely a large amount of phones out there which still exhibit the issues. This could account for the drop in WiFi usage from iPhone to Android devices.