Cisco: Wi-Fi preferable to cellular in Mexico

Wireless users in Mexico prefer Wi-Fi networks to cellular networks when connecting to the Internet from smartphones, tablets, laptops, e-readers and other mobile devices, according to a new study from Cisco.

In an online survey conducted in July 2012 of 769 adults in Mexico, Cisco ascertained that most mobile users are connecting their devices via Wi-Fi at some point, including more than 80 percent of smartphone owners. On average, smartphone users access Wi-Fi about 40 percent of the time to connect their devices to the Internet.

In addition, 45 percent of laptops, 35 percent of tablets and 30 percent of e-readers are connecting only through Wi-Fi. Most devices in those categories are sold with only built-in Wi-Fi access.

"With the exception of smartphones, users would prefer to connect all of their devices via Wi-Fi. Given a choice, 87 percent of laptop users and more than 80 percent of tablet and e-reader owners would either prefer Wi-Fi to mobile access, or have no preference," said Cisco.

Wi-Fi is winning fans because it is perceived as faster and more reliable than any other type of access. Further, 55 percent of those surveyed believe Wi-Fi is more secure than cellular, said Cisco

More than 80 percent of the people interviewed take advantage of a public hotspot at least weekly, in parks, streets, coffee shops, restaurants and other locations, said Cisco. Two-thirds of regular Wi-Fi users enjoy free access to public hotspots, 14 percent access hotspots as part of their broadband subscription, 6 percent as part of a mobile plan and 8 percent as part of a loyalty program. Business-expense-account-friendly venues such as hotels and airports are the most popular locations used by the less than 5 percent of regular users who pay for public Wi-Fi access.

Cisco said more than 80 percent of broadband customers indicate that they would be at least moderately likely to switch providers if they were offered free public Wi-Fi, with 64 percent saying that they would be "very" or "completely" likely to switch.

The Wi-Fi Alliance found similar results in a survey of 1,000 U.S. respondents that it announced in May. That survey shows that 70 percent of U.S. smartphone and tablet users would swap service providers to get streamlined Wi-Fi access while 72 percent said they would be willing to pay for easier Wi-Fi access. In addition, 85 percent of respondents to that survey prefer to connect via Wi-Fi over cellular for at least one common online activity, 83 percent would do more on their device if Wi-Fi were more widely available and 87 percent agreed that they want "greater Wi-Fi availability for my device."

According to Cisco, mobile network traffic in Mexico is expected to increase 23-fold from 2011 to 2016, with Mexican broadband users owning 2.85 mobile devices, a figure slightly higher than for the typical U.S. broadband consumer, who owns 2.59 mobile devices.

For more:
- see this Cisco release

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