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comScore: iPhones use Wi-Fi much more than Android

updated 03:35 pm EDT, Mon April 2, 2012

iPhone users more often use Wi-Fi to hop online

iPhone owners are much more likely to hop on Wi-Fi than their Android-using counterparts, comScore found through a look at US and UK owners. About 71 percent of American iPhone owners, and 87 percent of their British parallels, used Wi-Fi along with 3G. Only 32 percent of US Android owners did the same, while 57 percent of UK Android owners do the same.

The researchers explained it as possibly coming both through technical differences and the prevalence of hotspots in either country. As Apple didn't want to make design sacrifices to get faster data, its users were still on 3G and were more dependent on Wi-Fi for speed. AT&T's network is still well-known for being oversaturated in key cities, such as New York City and San Francisco. Android owners have both 21Mbps or faster HSPA+ and LTE available and aren't under as much pressure to use Wi-Fi.

AT&T is well-known for having one of the largest Wi-Fi hotspot networks in the US and, lately, has been launching outdoor Wi-Fi zones. UK residents were introduced to capped cellular data sooner and more likely to be using Wi-Fi overall, but 3G speeds may have had the same effect on Android in that country as in the US.

The demographics could change significantly with mounting rumors of an LTE iPhone appearing by the fall. In good conditions, LTE is often as fast or faster than current landline Internet access, reducing the need for Wi-Fi other than to save bandwidth and battery use.

Chart: Mobile and Wi-Fi Internet Connection Activity Across iOS and Android Smartphone Platforms in the U.S. and U.K. (Feb-2012)Description: 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. A further analysis of this pattern of behavior in the U.K. shows consistent results, as 87 percent of unique iPhones used both mobile and Wi-Fi networks for web access compared to a lower 57 percent of Android phones.Source: comScore Device Essentials, February 2012Tags: 3G, Wi-FiAuthor: comScorecharts powered by iCharts

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  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    The last line says it all.

    "...reducing the need for Wi-Fi other than to save bandwidth and battery use."

    I only turn on wireless data when I am away from my usual wifi connections. I have pretty good battery life as a result. I value good battery life, and disagree entirely with the way wireless data is defined and priced.

    fer instance. texting fees? How is texting not data, and therefore not included in my data plan?!!?! Bogus. How is unlimited data unlimited when there's a cap and bandwidth reduction?!!?! Dopey.
    So, by using wifi, I get better battery life, and basically avoid the stupid that is AT&T wireless data plan.

  1. Joe Story

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2009


    User Characteristics

    Given that Androids are diverse, non-standard, plentiful, and cheap, my guess is that the user population includes a significant number of people who do not have wifi, and perhaps even personal computers, in their homes or workplaces. If so, they likely depend on 3G/4G as their sole means of access. Those who do will certainly default to wifi in those situations and use 3G/4G only an away-from-wifi method.

  1. ljmac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010


    I suspect

    A h*** of a lot of those Android users don't even know what wi-fi is, or even if they do, they wouldn't know how to use it with their phones. The vast majority of Android sales are to people who simply want the cheapest phone that can "surf the interwebs", and don't know much else.

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