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

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[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.

25 Responses to “More Proof People Really Love Wi-Fi, Especially on the iPhone”

  1. Can an I Phone accees wi fi without having any regular phone service activated. The reason why I’m asking this is becaause AT&T is a bit pricy and I was wanting to use the phone primarily as a secondary computer. Do the apps allow a person (via wi fi) to do instant messaging and perhaps to use skype? If the I Touch had a microphone and a camera I’d just get one of those.

  2. Madis Kaal

    Skype is moving into the WiFi, by providing an easy way to pay for WiFi access, latest Mac beta client already has “Skype Access” feature. Hopefully getting more and more operators on board will also drive down the cost, the current Boingo offering is only beneficial for those who use paid WiFi infrequently in short bursts, like checking e-mail or doing a quick Skype call in airport.

  3. Thomas Whitney

    The main think I’m concerned about is that my connection (whichever way I get it) is secure. That’s absolutely by far the highest contributing factor to how I make my choice about what I use at any given time. My computer at home is bomber. Out around town I just have to use common sense. I usually stay away from using my passwords, entering my bank account or communicating anything that is too sensitive. I got some of these ideas from, which has been a helpful resource. I understand they may be installing a blog onto their site soon as an educational tool.

  4. I look at the two (Wi-Fi & 3G) as complimentary not exclusive. Wi-Fi for speed. 3G for coverage.
    Given limited spectrum, smaller cells are the best way to deliver greater speed (read wi-fi) and larger cells (read 3G) are the best way to deliver greater coverage.

  5. @Om,

    This data strongly supports AT&T’s acquisition of Wayport. The “new” AT&T WiFi network combined with the pending white spaces spectrum availability has AT&T well positioned for WiFi delivery over the long term. I expect that AT&T will continue to build out its’ mix of phones that have WiFi capabilities.

    To close, i’m suprised most carriers (here in the US) continue to be concerned with WiFi. There will be short term cannibalization of voice and data services, but i’d bet data service revenue would increase overall per user.

    My $.02.



  6. I am one that prefers 3G over wifi for my phone. WiFi runs the battery down faster and I prefer to use my phone for browsing when I am away from my computer – which usually means out of WiFi range. Really, I don’t want to worry about whether it is on or not and where I am. I would bet these numbers would be different if ATT had 3G coverage as good as VZW and Sprint do.

  7. Regarding the 19% that prefer 3G over wifi : well, not all mobile operators have an awful 3G network.
    Here in Switzerland, the coverage is really good, and in the worst case, there’s EDGE.

    All in all, for iphone owner with a proper package, there’s no need to connect to 3rd party hotspot, just use 3G/EDGE and WiFi at home/office only.

    Same for PC : if you have to pay and have no free AP in proximity, you’ll probably juste use 3G with your data-plan, speeds are the same and less trouble to connect.

  8. Almost every computer in my home ( and the Wii and TiVo as well ) are connected via Wi-Fi. I use my iPod Touch for news and email around the house and a remote control for AirTunes. Before I go out I check to see which places nearby might have wireless.

  9. i am surprised there is not a large category for desktop users. i sell used computers; almost every desktop i sell the customer wants an internal wifi card with high gain antenna installed. they plan on using an open WiFi network either provided free from the landlord or left open for others to use by a neighbor. or they may even try to reach the starbucks across the street. it seems like my customers for used laptops on the other hand have all moved on the 3g data cards that work everyplace and no longer worry about wifi.

    do these umbers represent private connection with routers? or just commercial branded hotspots?