Broadband News

Point-Topic Survey shows mobile broadband overtakes Wi-Fi hotspots

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
O2 26%
Orange 20%
Vodafone 20%
T-Mobile 14%
Three 12%
Mobile Internet usage by network

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.


I'm surprised the gap isn't higher. In Westminster and City of London I've found the hotspots to be few and far between plus the speed of browsing the net from my iPhone with 3g is considerably faster than BTO and the cloud. I just received notification that this partnership is set to end 2nd October.

  • bosie
  • over 12 years ago

Or it could be a lot of dumbos think they were getting a free laptop

  • over 12 years ago

I think it's odd that market share reflects the opposite of HSDPA network coverage. O2 really need to expand their HSDPA coverage and fill on the large gaps between major cities.

I live in Canterbury and I'm shocked to see that T-mobile actively sell USB dongles in the high street store but have no coverage within the city walls!

  • timmay
  • over 12 years ago

Mobile Broadband will be the winner when compared to WiFi because the article says you can get on where ever you are.
I once had to go to stay in Bath for 3 weeks, now looking for a way to connect I had 3 choices. The expensive Coffee Shop via The cloud, A BT openzone where the only place I could sit securely was within a telephone box or the local Internet Cafe who did a fair price of £1 an hour.

  • Pigmaster
  • over 12 years ago

So in the end Mobile broadband would of been the winner it I had an account as I could of sat in the City Centre flat I was rent and used it in comfort.

Maybe WiMax may make a difference though I can not see a provider doing this even though they all brought up the spectrum

  • Pigmaster
  • over 12 years ago

Well if PCCW/Netvigator/whatever had actually delivered a nationwide wireless service, rather than sitting on the licences, this discussion could have been bypassed, as (afaik) they had the technology for punters to access their network anywhere there is coverage (but without cellphone-style handover as you move).

PCCW didn't bother, and now the PAYG 3G folks look likely to capture the market for low volume movable (not mobile) broadband, and the 3G folks already have far better coverage and tariffs than PCCW. Bye, PCCW, bye WiMax.

  • c_j_
  • over 12 years ago

Bye anyone sensible using mobile data for non-business use for the next decade, until prices for it are remotely sane.

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 12 years ago

Agreed Dawn mobile broadband prices are ridiculous theres even been several stories on here about how someone got charged thousands (especially when abroad) As to Wimax thats a complete waste of time, speeds from my experience are slow coverage is patchy despite the spiel we are fed oh and it literally operates and changes like the weather (sorry i mean with the weather).

  • over 12 years ago

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