More Proof People Really Love Wi-Fi, Especially on the iPhone

[qi:___wifi] It’s hard to imagine a time when laptops needed big ugly PC cards to access Wi-Fi networks built with Lucent access points that cost more than today’s netbooks. Ten years later, it’s impossible to find a computing device without Wi-Fi connectivity. Wi-Fi networks are everywhere. Every time I open my Macbook Air in my apartment, I am greeted by nearly 15 wireless networks. Such proliferation has changed our expectations of Wi-Fi. These expectations were part of the conclusions drawn from a survey of 2,700 Wi-Fi users –- 70 percent of them between the ages 18 and 45 — conducted by Decipher, a research company, on behalf of Devicescape, a San Bruno, Calif.-based wireless software vendor. Here are some of the key findings:

  • 91 percent of those surveyed expect Wi-Fi when on the road.
  • 84 percent want citywide Wi-Fi and 56 percent and are ready to pay for it.
  • People access Wi-Fi on their smartphones more often than their laptops.
  • 81 percent prefer Wi-Fi over 3G, and 82 percent want their service provider to offer special 3G/Wi-Fi packages.
  • Nearly 85 percent use Skype for VoIP, while 11 percent use Truphone, followed by 2 percent who use JahJah. ?
Total All
Laptop 30%
Netbook (e.g. Asus EEEPC) 3%
iPhone 35%
Blackberry 1%
Nokia 20%
Windows mobile for Smartphones and other Wi-Fi
Motorola 0%
Other: (please specify) 4%

These findings are not surprising, mostly because many of those surveyed were in the demographic that I like to think of as that of digital nomads –- sales people, consultants, freelancers, web workers, technical workers and students. Given the changing workplace dynamics, these are representative of the future working class. Of those surveyed, 38 percent were from the U.S., mainland Europe accounted for 21 percent, followed by UK Wi-Fi users, who accounted for 7 percent of those surveyed.

As we have previously noted, at least in the U.S., an increasing number of smartphone owners, especially the iPhone, are turning to Wi-Fi because of the pokey nature of AT&T’s 3G Network.

I personally prefer accessing Wi-Fi networks using one of the three options: Devicescape, Boingo or iPass clients/service to log into whichever Wi-Fi connection on my iPhone. And before I acquired an iPhone, I used Wi-Fi to connect my Nokia E71/51 or one of the N-Series phones to the Net and used Truphone.