A new study by ComScore reveals that more than 50 percent of Android users in the U.S. rely solely on mobile networks for their Internet needs as compared to a third of iPhone users.
This stat is very surprising because it means that more than half of Android users (68 percent to be precise) never connect to Wi-Fi. And if 4G LTE’s increased speeds indeed eat up data very quickly, data heavy 4G Android phone users should ideally go past their monthly caps very soon and fallback on Wi-Fi. (The iPhone on the other hand doesn’t yet support 4G LTE.)
In U.K. the disparity between iPhone and Android users who don’t rely on Wi-Fi networks was the same, although the actual figures decreased substantially as can be seen in the chart below. ComScore says this is because the prepaid, pay-as-you-go data model is quite popular in the U.K. In addition to this, 4G LTE and unlimited data plans are scarce in the country.
So what’s the reason behind this unexpected usage pattern?
Here’s what we think:
- iPhone users are known to consume a lot more web data than other smartphone users. Given the lack of unlimited mobile data plans, most of these users queue up data intensive activities like downloading apps and streaming video for later, while they’re on Wi-Fi and not on 3G.
- Although we’ve used the 4G LTE argument for increased Wi-Fi usage, it’s quite possible that Android users (who aren’t heavy data consumers) are satisfied with the high 4G speeds and don’t feel the need to connect to their Wi-Fi connections for better upload and download speeds.
- We don’t think this contributes much towards this usage pattern, but it’s worth mentioning. Certain activities on iOS like FaceTime, large downloads from the App Store require a user to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. (Google only recently increased the maximum file size of an Android app from 50MB to 4GB.)
Here’s the carrier wise breakdown:
What do you think could be the reason for this usage pattern? Think we missed any reason? Please sound off in the comments!