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Unlimited Plans Reduce Time Users Spent on WiFi in the US, says OpenSignal

3 months ago
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Unlimited Plans Reduce Time Users Spent on WiFi in the US, says OpenSignal Image Credit: OpenSignal

Data analytics firm OpenSignal’s most recent WiFi analysis in the US finds that time consumers spent connected to WiFi is in decline as unlimited data plans become more prevalent. Customers also appear to be less concerned about finding a ‘free’ Wifi connection 

OpenSignal's analyst Peter Boyland wrote in a blog post, "Not surprisingly, our data, which covers the 90 days from December 1, 2017, shows that time on Wifi has fallen across three out of the four major operators. But more notable is the fact that the “big two” AT&T and Verizon saw the greatest drop in our measurements. As unlimited data plans in the U.S. become more ubiquitous, customers appear less concerned about finding a ‘free’ WiFi connection, leaning more on their ‘unlimited’ 3G and 4G networks for connectivity."

According to Opensignal's 3 months long data, both AT&T and Verizon saw the amount of time their customers spent on Wifi fall by 3 percentage points in our metric: AT&T’s fell to 49% from 52%, while Verizon’s fell to 51% from 54%. T-Mobile’s score also fell to 41% from 43%, while Sprint stayed steady on 51%.

"As competition in the U.S. market grows, all four operators have launched competitive unlimited data plans, and as more and more customers migrate to these plans, users are likely becoming more confident about consuming data over cellular networks without worrying about racking up big bills"

Although time spent on WiFi is in decline, OpenSignal doesn't think WiFi is going anywhere any time soon.

"The technology still has an important role to play in mobile connectivity, particularly in ‘data intensive’ activities like streaming video or gaming, while large numbers of small businesses such as coffee shops still rely on Wifi to draw in customers. The usage dynamic can be radically different in less developed markets, where Wifi is not as readily available in the home and fewer users own a PC, laptop or tablet, meaning the smartphone is more often the go-to device for Internet access."

"WiFi still plays a hugely important role for telecom operators too. ‘Multi-play’ operators who offer both mobile and fixed-line services must consider their WiFi coverage as part of their cellular network strategy, particularly as they move to converting home hubs into public hotspots. Smartphone users are still spending more than 65% of their data time connected to WiFi in some countries."

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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