Mobile OS Android users choose Wi-Fi to transfer data

Research from Nielsen claims 78% of data transferred over Android OS devices uses Wi-Fi connections rather than 3G mobile data allocations

Android users are choosing Wi-Fi for their data transfers, rather than using their mobile data allocations.

Analyst firm Nielsen monitored 1,500 Android OS customers during September 2012 by installing a meter on their smartphones to determine which type of connection they were using.

The figures showed 78% of the data offloaded to Wi-Fi networks over a 24-hour period.

During working hours, users were more split, with between 20% and 30% using their 3G connections. However, after 5pm, this swayed back towards Wi-Fi, peaking at 90% of all traffic using the connection between 11pm and midnight.

The research confirms the fears of mobile operators that users are increasing looking to “over the top” services such as Skype or WhatsApp to communicate, rather than using the networks and generating revenue for them.

Some providers have tried to get into the OTT game, such as Telefonica with its TU Me app for sending texts, making calls or sending pictures using their data allowance, but there is stiff competition.

“People are already gravitating to other services… that they are accustomed to using on the web,” Paolo Pescatore, director of apps and media at CCS Insight, told Computer Weekly after the launch of TU Me.

“It is laudable that Telefonica is at least attempting to compete with these services. They need to put in some hard marketing dollars to get the message out there, but it boils down to why a user would shift from a service they are already using and familiar with?”

He concluded: “The questions users will be asking are, 'Is it free? Are my friends on it? And will it work for me?’ This is the challenge for operators.”

Read more on Mobile networks