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Most Android users don't get on Wi-Fi, rely solely on carrier data

Posted: , by Victor H.

Most Android users don't get on Wi-Fi, rely solely on carrier data
Chances are, if you have a smartphone, you consume a lot of data. But did you know that the way users take data differs hugely on iOS and Android? On iPhones, users tend to use their Wi-Fi connection much more often, while on Android users just rely on their carrier data and shockingly few turn to Wi-Fi networks, according to the latest study by comScore.

Only 32% of US Android users rely on Wi-Fi networks to get on the web, while the overwhelming majority of 68% use solely their carrier’s connection. Shocking as this is, we’re also surprised to see that on iOS, users who only use carrier service amount to nearly a third in the States, or 29%.

Those results are for the US where unlimited data and all-you-can-eat plans are not a rarity. In the UK, in contrast, where people usually have tiered data plans, the situation is different and consumers often turn to Wi-Fi networks to fit into their carrier data limits. But generally, the trend for Android users to use less Wi-Fi remains.

"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," comScore analyst Serge Matta explained.

Those are eye-opening results showing that much of our mobile data needs are met with the current 3G technologies. We imagine that the stats will change even more towards carrier data when 4G LTE gets wider adoption, but there’s always the problem of data caps.

Also, some carriers like AT&T offer a huge hotspot network, so users are encouraged to get on Wi-Fi more often. And, as we know, there are most iPhones on AT&T, so this also partly explains the trend. What do you think is the reason Android users are less likely to turn to Wi-Fi networks?

source: comScore

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

38 Comments
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posted on 03 Apr 2012, 05:23 2

1. Darnelll (Posts: 16; Member since: 27 Dec 2011)


I use wifi anytime I'm home on my Android phone. I don't get great service in my house and even though I have a 4g phone (Nexus S 4g) and live near DC, I rarely ever am in 4g signal areas. Either I use my home wifi or I can't use data on my phone while I am at my house. Even if I had a strong 4g signal in my home I think I would still use wifi. Its fast enough and I'd rather not drain my battery on WiMaxx 4g even if I am near a charger.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 05:58

2. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


I have a great WiMax connection all around me and tend to use that.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 06:13 4

3. angelohizzo (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Apr 2012)


Most people aren't very tech savvy.
iPhone users have Apple (customer support) to turn to for basic "how-to" questions but the same cannot be said for most Android users.
Besides, a lot of people get Android phones because of the cheaper price tags and not for faster Internet access, which home Wi-Fi networks can offer.
You and I can access our Wi-Fi networks in our sleep, but let's face it, the general public isn't like us and they don't care about Wi-Fi/LTE/HSPA/etc speeds.
As long as they're offered a phone that has "Internet", a big screen, and a cheap price, they'll buy it and worry more about the monthly bill than which network they're on.
Again, not like us who wait and pay for the next greatest thing in tech.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 19:54 2

30. UBhacked (Posts: 4; Member since: 03 Apr 2012)


I complete agree with you that Apple users have apple care to spoon feed them and lead them by the hand and put a pacifier in Apple users mouths when necessary. Most Android users, if we don't have a feature, we just write our own code for it.

posted on 04 Apr 2012, 14:57

38. dmberta (Posts: 25; Member since: 30 Dec 2009)


Or people arn't around WIFI networks ALL day and don't use alot of data when they're at home. Maybe iphones are more heavily concentrated on people who hang around wifi networks all day.

Lets just all make assumptions.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 06:18 9

4. remixfa (Posts: 13930; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


you forgot the biggest reason for the trend. there are extremely few apps or circumstances on android where it FORCES you to be on wifi. There are dozens and dozens of apps and items that will not work on iOS unless you are on wifi.

Basically what the graph is saying is that if the OS doesnt force them on wifi, then they wont use it very often.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 07:29 5

5. jabberwocky (Posts: 89; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


Well at first I was going to post a couple of my ideas but I suspect you have hit the nail on the head. If they're being forced over to it even once, they have to learn to use it and that may make them more likely to do it again.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 07:31 2

6. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4179; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Exactly iOS just finally got to the 4G LTE scene & only on the new iPad. The iPhone 4S is only 3G so that is my most apps for iOS are Wi-Fi. If iOS had more 4G options then I believe the same trend that is happening on Android will simply apply to iOS.

Android has have 4G since 2010 so naturally apps for Android really don't need to emphasize Wi-Fi as much as Apple's 3G iOS. Again once the iPhone goes 4G the reliance on Wi-Fi won't be as strong since more and more apps will be able to function just the same on 4G as in Wi-Fi!

The difference between 3G & Wi-Fi is just as HUGE as 3G & 4G. 3G is very, very SLOW!

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 08:43 4

9. remixfa (Posts: 13930; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


even on lte the new ipad still forces wifi for things like video calling .. 4g hasn't changed it one bit

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 09:30 3

14. PAPINYC (Posts: 2308; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


I was just about to say that; well put.

The real problem is this: iOS users have been conditioned to pay a premium monthly rate for use of their own wi-fi. And, you are absolutely correct, 4G LTE on the "New" iPad 2 changes absolutely nothing as, all of the features and apps' that were previously restricted to "wi-fi only" are still only executable via "wi-fi" only.

Personally, I can't be bothered with turning on my wi-fi radio, I have above excellent 4G LTE and 3G coverage on Verizon, along with Unlimited Data; everything and every app' on my phone works directly through my carriers connection as it should. My all-time monthly data usage record is 35 GB, all part of my Unlimited Data plan with Verizon of $24.00 USD (after 20% discount. In contrast, the average iOS user pays about twice as much for just 35 MB; who is smarter?

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 10:41 2

18. angelohizzo (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Apr 2012)


4G on the new iPad makes as much a difference as 4G on an Android device, faster Internet connection.
There are only a couple of iOS apps that require Wi-Fi, if you can list more than 10 I would be surprised.

I pay about $30 for an unlimited data plan from AT&T and use 5-6 GB a month. As far as I know they don't offer unlimited plans anymore and neither does Verizon. A lot of average iOS users pay $15 for 200 MB (the bare minimum) just to get by and use their Wi-Fi networks at home for more data consuming Apps.

Who is smarter is someone who knows what they're talking about.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 10:55 1

20. PAPINYC (Posts: 2308; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


"A lot of average iOS users pay $15 for 200 MB (the bare minimum) just to get by and use their Wi-Fi networks at home for more data consuming Apps."

Actually it's $14.99/mo for 250 MB of data and an additional $14.99 when 'the average iOS user' reaches 251 MB of data. That's right, keep iJustifying the stupiDiTy in your head by repeating, "$14.99 to use my wi-fi at home is not bad; the additional $14.99 aint' bad either; what I pay for everything and home internet just to have wi-fi also is good."

You must be a genius!!?

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 11:36

25. angelohizzo (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Apr 2012)


Talk about missing the point or just blatantly ignoring it.
$15 is the least amount you can pay to get a smartphone on AT&T.
Nobody would pay $48 for 35 MB, which you claim.
I was trying to prove you wrong, which I did.

And it's actually $14.99/mo for 250 MB of data and an additional $14.99 when 'the average iOS AND Android user. ' reaches 251 MB.

AT&T sells Android phones to you know.
Didn't get to Google that one huh?
It'll get you closer to breaking that 35 GB all time high monthly data usage.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 09:52 3

16. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4179; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Man that has to sucks. I love that all the apps I have I can use anywhere & I am not subjected to only Wi-Fi areas!

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 10:20 3

17. angelohizzo (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Apr 2012)


"There are dozens and dozens of apps and items that will not work on iOS unless you are on wifi."

That is absolutely false. Outside of FaceTime (iOS's video native video App) there are no major apps that "require" wifi. Every other Video app out there works just fine on 3G i.e. Skype/OovoO/Yahoo Messenger/Google+. I can say that 99% of apps in the App Store do not force you to get Wi-Fi.
If your statement was anywhere near accurate, most people including myself, would have gotten an iPod Touch, which requires Wi-Fi to access the Internet.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 10:52 2

19. remixfa (Posts: 13930; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


ok quick math hotshot. Lets say your right and 99% of apple apps don't force wifi..

1% of 500,000 apps is....?
About 5000

And a lot of those apps are very popular ones.
I'd say dozens and dozens was an understatement, wouldn't you? Thanks for clarifying ..lol

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 11:00 4

21. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Let's hear some example's off apps that force you to use wifi. I'll give you one. FaceTime.

Ok go!

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 11:16 3

23. angelohizzo (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Apr 2012)


Now name 10 of those 5000 apps.
It can't be that hard since you claim a lot of those are very popular.

After the initial download that may require Wi-Fi, as McLTE pointed out, most apps don't require wifi to work.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 11:28 2

24. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Remix is a troll. He doesn't care about facts at all. He makes one sided definitive statements, on which he's almost always wrong, and defends them to the death.

He very rarely will admit being wrong even after its proven that he is.

posted on 04 Apr 2012, 01:29

32. remixfa (Posts: 13930; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


prove me wrong then troll ... you have done it once in the what.. 3 years you have been nipping at my heels?

posted on 04 Apr 2012, 02:05

34. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Give us a list of iPhone apps that require wifi please...waiting still

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 07:42

7. paynekiller (Posts: 139; Member since: 24 May 2010)


I guess Most Android users aren't on Sprint then..
I almost rely on WiFi with whichever Sprint Android I've had wherever I go, EVO and the Epic Touch now, cause if I don't use wifi I have spottiest 4G in the nation or if I turn on 3G my battery drains 10x faster and I'm stuck to speeds lower than 200kbps.

Unless I can get 4G, which is not in most places, I don't have internet access unless wifi is around. I just can't use Sprint's 3G.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 20:31 1

31. ojdidit84 (Posts: 375; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


Oh man, do I ever feel your pain. I was with Sprint for 12 years. But ever since the Evo 4G came out the data just got slower and slower a n d s l o w e r...

So I went to Verizon back in December and I'm not looking back. And even though Verizon's LTE is fast my home internet is still faster (for now) at 55mbps so I still use Wifi at home and LTE everywhere else.

posted on 04 Apr 2012, 05:59

37. paynekiller (Posts: 139; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Lucky you man. My upgrade is due today, I'm weighing my options. I doubt Sprint's LTE will be in South Florida for now, so upgrading to any of those phones don't make sense at all for me right now or else I'll be stuck with only 3G which I keep off, spotty 4G is better than nothing.. And since I have the Epic 4G Touch already, there isn't anything better to upgrade to anyway..
Sprint needs to get their s**t together cause I'm barely seeing what I'm paying an extra $10/month for.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 07:44 1

8. Beholder88 (Posts: 81; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


When I am home I strictly use Wi-Fi. I have a RAZR and don't get the best data reception where I live, and my Wi-Fi is faster than 4G anyway. I still have unlimited data luckily, so only use Wi-Fi as a necessity when I'm near it. And to oppose angelohizzo's point, even the Android people who are not tech savvy have somewhere to turn. I work for a carrier here, and get calls for basic how-to questions all the time. Keep in mind that Apple charges for their customer service after you have owned a product for a certain period of time, your carrier gives you free customer service.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 09:01

10. McLTE (Posts: 711; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Just about anyone I know that has purchased a new smart phone has NO idea about using wifi.. so I usually end up setting it up for them in their own homes. Then I go on to explain how they can reduce data consumption by using wifi at relatives houses, or places they frequent that also have wifi.. I usually get blank stares. There's no way they are going to go through the extra effort to configure their wifi for places they frequent.

The average consumer just wants their smart phone to work.. don't want to deal with any of the other crap.

Another commenter hit the nail on the head.. IOS FORCES you to download many of their apps on wifi.. something that I know frustrates many users.

I dont see this trend changing anytime soon.. I think most consumers don't want to be bothered with wifi when they can get the data without doing anything.

I use wifi everywhere I can.. to save battery.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 09:11 2

11. Michael Lyles (Posts: 8; Member since: 24 Sep 2010)


I always use Wi-Fi when I can, regardless of where I'm at. It's much faster than my 3G.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 09:25

12. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1007; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


I have the Inspire and I try to use WiFi as much as I can because i have the 2GB data plan with AT&T. Even if i bump it up to 3GB for an additional $5, id still have to rely heavily on WiFi. Eventually we Smartphone users will have to use WiFi because the cellphopne carriers wont offer unltd data anymore

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 09:26 2

13. iami67 (Posts: 318; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


One reason i never use wifi is my 4g is faster. Even before I had 4g in my area I didnt switch to wifi because with verizon if you are on wifi it wont let you send or recieve pics which is a big deal to me. Also I have a corporate email on my device and I noticed when on wifi it wont let me send email through corporate account becuase it is not a secure server. And i will never use a public wifi system it is way to easy to hack. Untill all these issues are fixed especially the pic and email I dont see a lot of people especially ones computer knowledgable who would ever prefer wifi. I work for verizon now and atleast once a week i myself gets a customer saying how come when Im home I cant send or recieve pics but when Im out I can. it took a few times before I realized these people where signed into wifi at home and that was why

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 09:44

15. catt4u (Posts: 64; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)


I'm from the Netherlands and my Galaxy S and iPhone 4 automaticly switch to our WiFi home network.
At work on the other hand, I don't have an open WiFi so I'm forced to use 3G UMTS as it is called overhere with excellent coverage btw.
In the smaler cities there are also not that much open WiFi networks to login to so most users stay on the 3G networks wich do offer perfect coverage all over the country!

Both the Galaxy S and the iPhone 4 reach speeds up to 3.2Mbit down and up to 1.6Mbit up which are the max. speeds for phones offered by the IPS's.
So I don't complain not being able to use WiFi at work ;)

On the WiFi network at home they reach up to 16Mbit down and up to 3.2Mbit up :)
(We do have a 25Mbit max. cable connection from Telfort, a subsidairy from KPN)

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 11:00

22. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


This just shows that iPhone users are more tech savvy

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 15:03 2

27. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4179; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Ok taco50, spin it anyway you like! I am more inclined to believe that Wi-Fi is just faster than the slow a$$ 3G you have to deal with if you happen to own an iPhone 4S or any iPhone for that matter! lol

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 15:31

28. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


wifi is fast, usually as fast as 4G and doesn't go against data caps which a lot of people have now.

posted on 04 Apr 2012, 01:31

33. remixfa (Posts: 13930; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


wifi is 100% dependant on the home internet connection which could be anything from crap ass AOL dialup to VZ landline fiber optic. Then you have to split it among users, account for lag, ect. Its usually as fast as 3g - 4g at BEST.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 18:57 1

29. Whateverman (Posts: 3224; Member since: 17 May 2009)


This doesn't show one OS user is more tech savvy than another. AT&T imposed their data caps before other carriers and during the time when if you wanted an iPhone, AT&T was where you went. Data caps were a part of being an iPhone owner and if you wanted to prevent that charge you HAD to have wifi. That wasn't something Android users ever had to worry about until recently. Now Android users that haven't been grandfathered into an unlimited data plans see the same need as iOS

posted on 04 Apr 2012, 02:10

35. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


AT&T had unlimited until 2010. Also if you read the article it says even among users with data caps iPhone users are more likely to use wifi. Also with 3G even if you have unlimited wifi is faster. Until last year most everyone had 3G.

posted on 04 Apr 2012, 02:35

36. Whateverman (Posts: 3224; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Read the article thank you! I was speaking to your point about one being more tech savvy than the other. And aren't you basically agreeing with me? Yes, wifi is faster than 3G in most cases but most people didn't go out and buy a router for that reason. Most bought them to have multiple connections within their homes, and most probably had it set up by a professional. So having wifi doesn't neccessarily make the more tech savvy.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 12:04 2

26. iami67 (Posts: 318; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


or that iphone in general are horrible devices and rely to heavily on wifi over there own 3g slow signal. you can look at it either way I guess huh.

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