Study suggests UK operators could boost coverage and offload traffic from the mobile network by taking advantage of consumer confidence in Wi-Fi
Market acceptance of Wi-Fi could pave the way for operators to improve coverage and tackle network loading issues, according to US network access specialist Kineto Wireless.
A YouGov study commissioned by Kineto Wireless has shown that the majority of UK smartphone users would be interested in using Wi-Fi to boost cellular coverage at home and in the office.
Some 74 per cent of the 2,176 surveyed online responded positively to the idea of a smartphone application that uses Wi-Fi to improve cellular coverage from their operator, with caveats that it must be easy to use and provide good battery performance.
Of those polled who had a Wi-Fi enabled smartphone, half connect to Wi-Fi on a daily basis, and almost two thirds use Wi-Fi on at least four days a week.
A high percentage were also interested in getting free or discounted calls when connecting their smartphone over Wi-Fi, with 80 per cent indicating they would use Wi-Fi to save themselves money on calls.
Kineto Wireless said the results reveal opportunities for operators to maximise smartphone usage by promoting Wi-Fi connectivity, which will also help offload data traffic from the mobile network.
Kineto Wireless client business unit vice president and general manager Mark Powell said: “Mobile operators have distinct market opportunities to reduce churn, improve service quality and keep customers satisfied by enhancing their use of Wi-Fi.”
O2 said using Wi-Fi and wireless broadband connectivity can improve users’ smartphone experience and conserve battery life.
O2 head of networks Gavin Sheldon said: “We encourage our customers to use free Wi-Fi hotspots and are proud to offer this ‘unlimited’ service as part of all smartphone tariffs.”
An Orange spokesperson said: “Smartphone customers may want to use a Wi-Fi network to compliment the use of 3G on their phone and access Wi-Fi specific services.
“We are committed to offering customers choice and are continually finding ways to bring applications and mobile services to customers, either through our own innovation or through partnerships.”