back to article Phone users favour Wi-Fi for dataslurp

Don’t think mobile data is too expensive and too slow in the UK? Then you probably work for a network operator. Few others would agree with you, which is why smartphone users get more than 78 per cent of their data over Wi-Fi links. So claims market research company Nielsen, which bases its conclusion on the results of putting …


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  1. hitmouse

    Assuming you're in a part of the UK where there's any mobile signal, let alone mobile data, then I must say that if you're a traveller with a PAYG SIM, then the options are far better than in most of Europe. In the UK you can walk out of a phone store with an activated SIM and a month's virtually unlimited data for very little money. In other countries (France, Spain, ...), then you have a mound of paperwork to get through, then a wait for two days for activation, and then find that email is not included in internet access, or there's some other gotcha.

  2. pcnerd37
    Thumb Up

    I'm not surprised by this at all. Wifi is usually far more reliable and in many cases much faster than a cellular connection. I am probably a bit of an edge case as I am on Sprint's old Nextel network which is about the speed of dial-up so if I need to do anything data intensive, I jump on wifi if it is available. I envy the people that have 3G!

    -Jeremy Bray

    Global Geek News

  3. Andrew Jones 2

    I am perfectly happy with the amount I pay Three for my unlimited data, however - the real reason I use my home WiFi instead of the mobile network is very simple. A phone can last all day connected to WiFi - but downloading the same data over a 3G connection consumes a lot of battery.

  4. Criminny Rickets

    I'm in Canada and even I prefer to use WI-FI rather than pay for cellular data. Virgin Mobility offers a Bell Mobile TV app on their phones, however you can't use it over WI-FI, you have to use your Data plan to watch it. My answer to that is NO. I pay extra if I use Data, so in the year I've had this phone, I have user the Data plan 3 times, and that was only because I was somewhere where there were no WI-Fi connections when I had to use it.

  5. zanshin

    This makes sense to me. Despite being a self-proclaimed technophile, I pay for a skimpy data plan from AT&T in the US, and mostly avoid heavy data usage (such as installing apps, streaming media, OTT VoIP, or viewing lots of images) when I am on a cellular link. When I'm out and about I mostly use my phone just to text or talk to people (in that order), or for things that don't need connectivity, like shopping lists.

    Now, when I plunk down in a restaurant or some such, especially when alone, I'll probably check my Facebook, email, etc, so I do consume bits and pieces of data doing so. But if there's WiFi available, I will use that instead, though I might be a tad more cautious about what I use it for. I probably wouldn't manage my billing or bank account on a public hot-spot, for example, but I mostly tend not to do that stuff over cellular, either.

    I don't presently game on my phone, so that doesn't enter the picture.

    Both at work and at home I have good WiFi coverage, so basically my phone only needs to consume cellular air time when I'm going to/from work, running errands, or out on the town.

  6. Pete the not so great

    Not at all at all

    On three I get "all I can eat data" 600 minutes and 1000s of text messages.

    for £15 a month (sim only)

  7. James 100

    No surprise there

    For one thing, I find an increasing number of places I go to have free WiFi - even if I had a fully unlimited data plan, for the same of a few finger-taps I'd want that extra speed.

    I went out for dinner tonight - free WiFi in the restaurant. Meet my brother for coffee a few times a month - free WiFi there too (in fact a choice, being a shopping centre: the coffee shop has its own, the O2 store downstairs offers another). Even the train home from work claimed to have free WiFi, though not actually working yet - apparently the early stages of some sort of pilot service.

    At home and work of course I have WiFi anyway; these days, if I am out sitting down anywhere (when I'm most likely to do any non-trivial downloading) there's probably a 50-50 chance I'll have free WiFi: 3g is only needed to cover the other half of venues, plus the time in transit between them. Why pay through the nose for 4G when you can get the use of decent broadband speeds via WiFi for free anyway?!

  8. Velv

    Lies, damned lies and data

    Flawed conclusions appear to have been extrapolated here since they have no idea what the user was doing.

    Smartphones slurp some data just sitting there switched on. I found this out when I missed a monthly top up (to get some data) and the remaining credit disappeared in a couple of hours. 1 or 2 MB for a few quid off plan, gone.

    So I haven't read the full report, but either its been badly reported by El Reg, or the report has been commissioned by someone with a vested interest. Or they were just useless.

  9. Tony Paulazzo

    I used to be a mostly wifi user for reasons of speed gains etc but then realised I'm paying for an unlimited (limited to 1GB natch), data allowance.

    Since my phone can watch data usage, I started turning wifi off (lovely battery saver), and letting the 3G do it all (mostly Facebook drivel, emails, the occasional search, and Google stalking me I guess), even using it as a wifi hotspot that I'd always been too scared to use.

    I now find the speed decrease isn't actually that terrible (probably because everyone else is wifi-ing it), surfing speed is fine, if not instant, and I'm using about 750MBs a month.

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