Verizon customers spend the most time connected to Wi-Fi, while T-Mobile customers spend the least. These are the latest findings from a new observation on data collected by OpenSignal. The data is relevant to the first three months of 2017 and looks to highlight how much customers from each of the carriers spend connected to a Wi-Fi signal, compared to their carrier's network. In terms of the actual numbers, Verizon customers were noted connected to a Wi-Fi signal approximately 54-percent of the time. This was then followed by AT&T customers who were noted connected to Wi-Fi 52-percent of the time. Up next, Sprint customers who were noted connected to Wi-Fi 51-percent of the time and in last place - or first place depending on which way you look at it - T-Mobile customers who were noted only connected to Wi-Fi 43-percent of the time.
Now, there are some major assumptions being made here with this data. Firstly, that T-Mobile customers spend more time connected to their cellular network than any of the other carriers. Some could argue this is representative of T-Mobile’s network and the confidence its users have in the network. Likewise, as the OpenSignal blog points out, this could also be representative of the more wider availability of an ‘unlimited’ plan from T-Mobile. After all, T-Mobile and Sprint were noted as the two carriers whose customers make use of their network connection more, compared to both AT&T and Verizon. Which correlates neatly with T-Mobile and Sprint’s generally more affordable (and earlier) access to an unlimited plan, compared to AT&T and Verizon.
But that would only be one way of looking at it. The same blog posting does also highlight that there are extraneous variables that could be in play here, such as a carrier’s tendency to automatically connect a customer to a nearby hotspot for an improved connection. Thereby, skewing the results in general. Not to mention an argument could also be raised for the demographics of each of the carriers. It is quite possible that the average T-Mobile or Sprint customer is away from Wi-Fi more often than the average AT&T or Verizon customer. Which would offset the inferences being made from the data. While such sweeping statements are unlikely to be true, they do highlight the lack of tangible assumptions that can be made from these findings. That all aside though, the data does make for interesting reading, as if nothing else, the data provides a glimpse of how consumers in the US spread their usage of Wi-Fi connections compared to connection to their carrier’s network - which generally speaking, is very similar across the carrier's overall with smartphone users roughly spending half their time connected to Wi-Fi. Although as the post also points out, one should even look at that ratio as an overestimation of Wi-Fi usage, as being connected to Wi-Fi does not automatically denote a device owner using data over Wi-Fi. You can read the full report here.