Roaming Mobile Users Prefer Wi-fi, says MACH

24 per cent of smartphone/tablet users have never accessed mobile data when abroad, according to an online consumer survey commissioned by cloud services provider MACH. The research, carried out by YouGov, also found that, of those who have used mobile data abroad, 45 per cent have not used 3G at all, while 43 per cent prefer to connect over paid-for wi-fi.

“These results demonstrate that wi-fi is a key access technology for mobile data when abroad,” says Lokdeep Singh, chief technology officer, MACH. “When roaming subscribers move to wi-fi, the operator effectively loses sight of them, and therefore misses out on the ability to sell further services to the customer. Operators should look today at how they can successfully market wi-fi offerings, both to gain market share of existing wi-fi users, and to address the untapped market of smartphone and tablet owners who are currently not using data services when roaming.”

When asked why they prefer wi-fi over 3G when abroad, 35 per cent cited avoiding bill shock as their prime motivator, while 33 per cent named cost benefits. 19 per cent, meanwhile, stated that they prefer wi-fi because it is faster than 3G for data downloads.

Finally, of those who have used their devices abroad, 68 per cent claimed they would be more likely to access wi-fi for data roaming if their mobile operator provided them with wi-fi-based roaming services, billed directly to their account and at a reasonable rate, while abroad.