Wednesday, 16 October 2013

More than half of mobile users choose Wi-Fi away from home



Europeans have embraced Wi-Fi to access mobile data, with more than 55% choosing Wi-Fi instead of cellular when away from home, according to a new survey about mobile data experiences.


The research, conducted by On Device Research on behalf ofActix, a leading supplier of RAN analytics and optimization solutions for Mobile Network Operators, shows the extent to which mobile users seek out Wi-Fi networks even away from home and work. More than 55% of Europeans regularly use Wi-Fi connectivity on their phones when they are away from home. In the UK this figure increases to almost 65% showing that tech savvy users are getting around operator data tariffs or caps.


Neil Coleman, Director of Global Marketing at Actix, says: “We know from our own mobile analytics that mobile data usage is climbing rapidly *. What this research indicates is how much of that data is bypassing mobile networks themselves. Unfortunately use of Wi-Fi by subscribers gives operators less clarity around network and capacity issues, making it difficult to deliver a consistent customer experience.”


In order to gain better control over when subscribers select Wi-Fi operators need to improve the methods used for identifying specific locations where capacity, coverage, or quality issues may be driving subscribers to jump to Wi-Fi. Using the ActixOne platform to locate and analyze calls and data connections enables the operator to better understand subscriber location and their subscribers’ network experience.

The ability to correlate this information with business records also enables operators to identify high value subscribers. As a result operators can precision target optimization activities, prioritizing the places where they need to rollout LTE or small cells to deliver improved service and greater capacity, more cheaply, encouraging valuable users to stay on the mobile network.

“If users get into the habit of reverting to the mobile network only when they cannot get a Wi-Fi signal, operators will lose control of their subscriber’s experience. Operators need to better curate their customer experience, to be aware of where and why Wi-Fi offload occurs, and they need to establish methods for ensuring it no longer happens by chance,” says Coleman.

In Brazil close to half of all subscribers (45%) never use Wi-Fi connectivity away from the home. This suggests that managing Wi-Fi offload, though not yet a key issue will become an increasing trend and major challenge for fast growth markets. Mobile operators that are able to improve and automate their networks to better manage customer experience will then be able to pre-empt subscribers wanting, or needing, to jump off to Wi-Fi in the future.