While devices such as the iPhone and the new Android phone from T-Mobile, the G-1, make it even easier to access data from the cellular networks or a Wi-Fi hot spot, the growth in wireless broadband access slowed in the first half of the year. According to data released by iPass, growth rates in the first six months of 2008, while still on the rise, were far less impressive when contrasted with the sharp uptick in Wi-Fi usage in the U.S. and Europe in the second half of 2007 over the second half of 2006.
iPass provides Wi-Fi and cellular data access through agreements with network operators for corporate customers, so the data reflects mostly business travelers whose companies pay for access. The survey also tracks cellular data usage in the U.S. and Europe and had some good news on that front, especially for those using smartphones such as the 3G iPhone.
3G coverage seems to have improved in the last six month, at least judging by the amount of connections that are relying solely on 3G networks as opposed to a mixture of 3G and 2.5G networks. During the second quarter of this year, 53 percent of users connected through a 3G network, up from 42 percent over the same period a year earlier. Oddly, given all the hype over using the Internet on web-friendly smartphones, the average data consumption by iPass users was only 210.9 MB per month. Maybe the fabled Google phone will change all that.
image source iPass