New research published by WiFi provider The Cloud shows that more than 10 million Brits use public WiFi each week via smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. That figure, which comes from data collected by market research company Canadean in November 2012, equates to 22% of the UK adult population.
According to the study, 2.8 million people (6% of adults) use a public WiFi hotspot every day. With around 28 million smartphone users in the UK, that’s the equivalent of a tenth of all smartphone users.
Younger people are the heaviest WiFi users - around a third of 25 to 34-year-olds use public WiFi at least once a week - although 10% of people aged 55 or older also use WiFi weekly.
Data from The Cloud’s national network of more than 18,000 hotspots shows that 35% of users log on for more than 15 minutes on average, while 8% stay online for more than half an hour. It’s already logged more than two billion WiFi minutes spent online during the first 10 weeks this year, covering more than 800 million megabytes of data.
Vince Russell, managing director of The Cloud, said “As smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices become ubiquitous, we’re increasingly looking to take our in-home internet experience out and about with us. With 3G connections frequently throttled and 4G not yet a mass-market proposition, this means many of us are turning to high-speed WiFi. As a result, we’re seeing shops, cafes, pubs, gyms and other places where people live their lives looking to meet this demand by offering free WiFi to their customers. Some seven million people pass through The Cloud’s venues every day, with hotspots ranging from Wick in the Highlands to Penzance in Cornwall, all in the kinds of venues where people want to take time to surf the web, catch up on emails, news and sport, and even listen to music or stream HD video.”