By Alex Braelow
How much data are people using? And how much are they paying for it? These are perhaps the two most frequently asked questions in the wireless industry.
This discovery is part of a larger project investigating the difference between Wi-Fi and cellular traffic for US smartphone subscribers. While Fierce Wireless and Strategy Analytics stress that a variety of external factors (i.e., holidays, TV events, movie releases, weather, etc.) can influence fluctuation, the latest numbers indicate a fairly consistent 3:1 ratio of Wi-Fi to cellular data traffic.
The project, which is updated every month, is focused specifically on Android users. It tracks how often these users switch from cellular to Wi-Fi networks, and how this activity differs between Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint customers. In addition, it distinguishes between unlimited, monthly, and pay-as-you-go service plans.
Our friends over at Wi-Fi Now have been following along. Claus Hetting, CEO and Chairman of Wi-Fi Now, offers some good analysis on the latest report from Fierce Wireless and Strategy Analytics:
“When categorised into plan types – meaning monthly data bundles vs. pay-as-you-go vs. unlimited data plans – the picture is starkly different. Except for unlimited plans, the Wi-Fi data consumption is around 90%. Interestingly, 13-14 GB per month seems to be the Wi-Fi consumption figure regardless of operator except in the case of Sprint.
Monthly allowance and unlimited plans also hit roughly the 13-14 GB per month mark – which could indicate that the increased cellular usage for unlimited plans may stem from more usage outside home and office, which are the usual Wi-Fi data strongholds.”
If you’re interested in learning more about this project and want to track the findings, be sure to visit the Fierce Wireless website.