Mobile broadband is more popular than using Wi-Fi hotspots, according to a survey by Point-Topic. The statistics show that the mobile networks in the UK managed to increase their share of Internet usage on the move up to 47%, just getting ahead of Wi-Fi usage which was at 42%.
|Mobile Operator||Market Share|
Although O2 top the tables of number of users, perhaps due to the success of the iPhone, Vodafone managed to just skip ahead with 24% against O2's 23% in the 'dongle' market which covers USB dongles and data cards used in laptops.
Perhaps one reason for the mobile networks overtaking Wi-Fi is the ability to get online from anywhere allowing you to catch up on news and e-mail, or check train times. Wi-Fi is often limited to a single location like a coffee shop and can work out expensive if you want to use it on a PAYG basis.
Next year, the picture may be a bit different amongst mobile operators. Virgin are set to embrace the mobile broadband market in time for Christmas which may introduce a bit of a shakeup and churn between providers as those with Virgin television or broadband services at home may be able to take advantage of a bundle to get services at a lower cost. If Wi-Fi operators don't start increasing coverage and reducing costs soon, services such as T-Mobile's new Pay per day mobile broadband starting at £2 for a day and £10 for 7 days, may start to entice more Wi-Fi users away. With BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots charging 20p a minute, or £10 a day on a pay as you go basis, it is easy to see why users are favouring mobile broadband.