Convenience and speed main reasons that drive American wireless subscribers to Wi-Fi offloading

Wi-Fi offloading is a little-known term but a very familiar process for wireless subscribers. It basically describes the action of connecting to a Wi-Fi network – whenever one is available – mainly to avoid using cellular data or to have greater internet connection speeds.

We all do it at home, especially since the action is automatic after the first instance, but how many of us offload to Wi-Fi when out of the house? How many of us take the trouble of asking the waiter to provide the Wi-Fi password when out for dinner or drinks? And most importantly, what are the main reasons that drive Wi-Fi offloading among wireless subscribers?

To answer to these questions, we leveraged our Mobile Insights survey and asked our respondents (in Q4 2018) about their Wi-Fi offloading habits. Here’s what we found out:

 

  • A significant number of wireless subscribers connect to Wi-Fi when not at home and being on a limited data wireless plan seems to drive more consumers to Wi-Fi offloading
  • 42% of wireless subscribers regularly connect to Wi-Fi when not at home to avoid using their cellular data, also known as Wi-Fi Offloading;
  • Those on limited data plans are more likely to offload to Wi-Fi: 53% of limited plan subscribers offload to Wi-Fi against 34% of unlimited plan subscribers.

 

  • Verizon and AT&T subscribers practice Wi-Fi offloading considerably more often than T-Mobile and Sprint subscribers, proving that differences in Wi-Fi offloading by carrier are likely driven by unlimited penetration within carriers.
  • Sprint ant T-Mobile have 81% unlimited plan penetration whereas AT&T and Verizon have 52% unlimited plan penetration. Wi-Fi offloading is more prominent at AT&T and Verizon – 44% of Verizon and AT&T subscribers say frequently connecting to Wi-Fi when not at home, compared to 38% of T-Mobile and 37% of Sprint subscribers.
  • Frequent Wi-Fi offloaders have a lower carrier satisfaction rate as compared to those who don’t offload to Wi-Fi. Carrier satisfaction rate among offloaders is 72% and non offloaders have a carrier satisfaction rate of 75%

 

  • Offloading to Wi-Fi is more common among wireless subscribers that are younger and have higher incomes.
  • 45% of wireless subscribers with income greater than $100K offload to Wi-Fi when not at home against 40% of subscribers that earn less than $50K a year

 

  • Primary reasons for Offloading to Wi-Fi are Convenience and Speed.
  • 52% of respondents chose convenience and speed as bigger drivers for offloading to Wi-Fi. The proportion is even higher among unlimited plan subscribers - 2/3 are offloading to Wi-Fi for speed and convenience.

 

  • Hotels are the most common location where wireless subscribers are offloading to Wi-Fi.
  • 53% of respondents offload when staying at hotels, 49% offload in restaurants and 42% offload at school/work

 

Check out the findings of this study in this simple info-graphic.

 

For an in person conversation about the data behind this study or if you have any questions about consumer wireless or wired behaviors, attitudes and perceptions, contact Eni at eni@harrisx.com.  Eni will get you in touch with one of our research professionals to answer any of your questions.