Our sources latest findings from their GWI Device report takes a look at the progress of 4G and its usage on current mobile devices. Despite 4G’s growing presence around the world, only 16-percent use 4G to access the worldwide web. Another 16-percent use Wi-Fi, but the 36-percent majority of mobile users still use 3G. There are many factors that can influence our use of 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi – location, age group and even income level can all affect the way we get on the web.
When it comes to 4G usage by region, North America (US and Canada) is by far the largest user at 36-percent and after that it drops off dramatically. The Middle East and Africa are using 4G only 17-percent of the time, Asia Pacific is at 14-percent. Europe has only a 12-percent of 4G usage followed by Latin America with only 11-percent of the mobile web connections via 4G. North America, while highest, is still surprisingly low considering the 4G and LTE coverage in the US of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile – they blanket the US with 4G and 4G LTE, yet only 36-percent use that as their main way to connect to the internet, possibly choosing Wi-Fi instead.
It is easy to defend Wi-Fi – many voluntarily use Wi-Fi rather than 3G because it is faster, and may use Wi-Fi rather than 4G to save their data usage. I know where I live in the suburbs near a rather large city, my 4G wanders and puts me on 3G – certainly not my choice. When I work at home I am always connect, by choice, to my Wi-Fi to save on data charges and to make sure I am always using the fastest possible connection for myself. Many people that are out during the day or at work will connect to Wi-Fi to avoid extra data usage, as so many restaurants, hotels/motels and coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi so why not take advantage of the service. My biggest surprise in this survey is that a larger percentage of users are not taking advantage of Wi-Fi to connect their mobile devices to the internet.
When it comes to the income factor, 4G usage grows as income also grows. The bottom 25-percent of household incomes are at 13-percent in using 4G to connect to the internet. The middle 50-percent income bracket use 4G 17-percent of the time to connect to the web and the top 25-percent of income earners are at 23-percent in using 4G on their mobile devices. The discrepancy may be in purchasing a cheaper 3G device or it could also be that most of the emerging nations with large populations, such as India and China and even advanced European countries, are still using the older 3G networks, although great strides are being made as users are demanding the faster 4G networks.
When it comes to age versus 4G usage, it starts with less 4G users, grows quickly and then drops off in the older age group just as quickly. In the 16 – 24 age group we find 14-percent of mobile web browsers using 4G, then in the 25 – 34 age group it quickly goes up to 19-percent and then goes slightly down to 17-percent within the 35-44 age group. In the 45-54 age group, 4G usage to access the web drops back down to 14-percent and then to only 12-percent in the 55-64 age group. Much of this is probably due to the cost/connection factor with the younger people in the emerging nations, as well as many older people, getting their first smartphone, only wanting to text or talk, avoid using the web altogether.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are surprised by the lack of 4G use, especially in North America and what is your choice for browsing the web on your mobile device…as always, we would love to hear from you.