A new report from the mobile advertising company Admob says that 42 percent of iPhone Internet requests came from Wi-Fi hot spots rather than AT&T's 3G wireless network in November. This is quite a bit higher than most Wi-Fi capable phones, which typically average about 10 to 20 percent.
Several bloggers say they think iPhone users are gravitating toward Wi-Fi more because AT&T's 3G network is not up to snuff. Om Malik at GigaOm said AT&T's 3G service was as unpredictable as Lindsay Lohan's mood.
But I don't really think that is the issue. Personally, I haven't had many problems accessing the data network from my iPhone in New York City. I have had dropped calls. But for the most part, whether I'm on Wi-Fi or AT&T's 3G network, downloading e-mail or accessing the Web from my phone works pretty well.
I think there are two reasons why iPhone users are opting for Wi-Fi when it's available. And these reasons could provide some interesting lessons for phone manufacturers and wireless carriers.
For one, accessing a Wi-Fi access point on the iPhone is easy. I have Wi-Fi access turned on on my phone. Whenever I fire up the browser or download e-mail, a list of available networks pops up. If I'm home or in a network I've already been on, most times the phone will automatically connect via Wi-Fi instead of the 3G network. I don't have to really think about it. It just happens. So most times, as a user, I'm not consciously deciding to use Wi-Fi or not.
But whether I choose a Wi-Fi network or not, downloads from the Wi-Fi network are noticeably faster, which is why I have the Wi-Fi option turned on in the first place.… Read more