Mobile Speed’s Hot, Apps Not, Says Deloitte

United States consumers, who are “addicted to speed” and often willing to pay more to get it, toggle between Wi-Fi and fourth-generation (4G) wireless technologies to get the fastest possible connection for their mobile devices, says a new study by Deloitte.

The survey reveals that Wi-Fi has grown significantly in the U.S. marketplace. In fact, nearly two-thirds of consumers now report that they most often connect their smartphones to Wi-Fi networks as opposed to a mobile network when using the Internet. Similarly, U.S. consumers also reported a willingness to spend more to get faster speeds. In fact, 41 percent of respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay more for substantially faster speeds (3x-5x), with nearly 10 percent willing to pay up to $30 on top of their current rates.

Wi-Fi and 4G are proving to be complementary. While years ago, 4G was thought to be a “Wi-Fi killer,” the survey indicates the opposite is the case. Consumers who have already adopted 4G are actually more likely to seek out faster Wi-Fi alternatives when they need better speed/performance and/or are conscious about the cost of their mobile data plan (by an 11 percent margin over their non-4G counterparts). Usage of Wi-Fi “out and about” and “at someone else’s home” is also increasing (with 44 percent of respondents indicating use at someone else’s home), particularly in comparison to “at home” and “at work.”

“What drives mobility and enables everything in the ecosystem is ultimately the wireless network,” said Craig Wigginton, vice chairman and U.S. telecommunications sector leader, Deloitte LLP. “As consumers become more comfortable moving between types of networks, we anticipate a ‘peaceful co-existence’ between Wi-Fi and 4G to support all types of activities, be it for work, play or new types of social interactions.”

The survey reveals that the number of app downloads, as well as per app spending actually decreased from 2012 to 2013 – with the greatest reduction coming in tablets. This decrease occurred not only in the U.S. (decreasing 13 percent), but is also consistent across other countries surveyed with Brazil downloads decreasing 36 percent, Argentina decreasing 17 percent, and Mexico decreasing 14 percent.

“The good news is, we see a lot of potential remaining in the apps market space over the long term,” said Wigginton. “We believe that the overall declines indicated in this year’s survey may be due to increasing sophistication among consumers. It is likely that they have already obtained the core apps they prefer for work and play, with those choices persisting over time as they upgrade and change their devices. ”

The survey also reveals that when choosing a particular smartphone device, consumers were split with regard to price based on whether they are smartphone owners or not.? For non-smartphone owners, “cost of the device” was listed as the #1 reason for selecting their device, while it was last amongst the most common reasons for smartphone owners – no other response in the survey was less important than price for this group of tech-savvy consumers.

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