US consumers interested in more Wi-Fi services from mobile operators

Three quarters of smartphone users in the US are interested in a mobile operator-provided service that uses Wi-Fi to provide lower cost calls, according to a recent MarketTools Zoomerang survey of 420 smartphone owners.

The survey, commissioned by Kineto Wireless, also showed 72% of smartphone users are interested in an application that uses Wi-Fi to improve cellular coverage.

Additional highlights from the online survey conducted May 2011 include: Nearly nine out of ten (89%) of respondents have smartphones with Wi-Fi; 77 percent have Wi-Fi at home; 54 percent have it at their place of work; 62 percent of people who own smartphones with Wi-Fi use the Wi-Fi four or more days each week; 30 percent say they use Wi-Fi because it is faster than the cellular network; 19 percent because it is easy to access the internet; 30 percent have smartphones with a Google Android operating system (OS); 26 percent use Apple iPhone OS; and 22 percent use a RIM OS; 44 percent of iPhone owners would “definitely” be interested in an application that could be used to boost mobile coverage; and 47 percent would “definitely” be interested in a Wi-Fi service offering discounted calling.

Of T-Mobile subscribers, 55 percent use Wi-Fi on their smartphones four or more days each week or every day, 24 percent because it is easy to access the internet; Of AT&T subscribers, 68 percent of AT&T subscribers use Wi-Fi on their smartphones four or more days each week or every day, 32 percent because it is faster than the cellular network.

“Wi-Fi has become pervasive in the smartphone market, and subscribers are interested in options that help them take better advantage of Wi-Fi for coverage and cheaper calling,” said Steve Shaw, vice president of marketing for Kineto Wireless. “This data helps reiterate the market opportunities for mobile operators. With Kineto’s Smart Wi-Fi Application, they can improve service quality and develop subscriber-friendly services that drive mobile data offload.”

T-Mobile is the most aggressive of the US operators with its use of Wi-Fi to reduce churn by addressing in-building coverage and increasing data offload. In October 2010, the company re-launched its Wi-Fi Calling service and has had tremendous success. The company continues to add Smart Wi-Fi-enabled, latest and greatest Android smartphones from a variety of phone manufacturers.

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