Mobiles phones lead on-the-go web access

Those who like to access the internet on the move for work and play are increasingly doing so via their mobile networks rather than using Wi-Fi hotspots, according to research.

UK mobile phone players have grown their access market share to 47 per cent compared to the 42 per cent that Wi-Fi holds.

And, it would seem that O2 is a firm favourite among the mobile surfers, as more than a quarter (26 per cent) of those who access the net via their network are signed up to the mobile giant. Orange and Vodafone aren't far behind with around 20 per cent of the market each, with T-Mobile and 3 trailing behind with 14 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.

"But O2 isn't the first choice of the new wave users who've got dongles or data cards to connect to the network," according to Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic, who published the research.

"Vodafone is top in dongle-user market share with 24 per cent of respondents. O2 comes in at 23 per cent followed by Orange, T-Mobile and 3."

Given the handset and dongle two-pronged approach by many operators, Wi-Fi is likely to take a further battering in terms of market share going forward, according to Point Topic.

"So we see dual-mode operation, with mobile broadband users defaulting to Wi-Fi where its available, as the way of the future," added Johnson.

But it's not all good news for the networks. Although churn rates are fairly low, customers continue to vote with their feet.

"There are operators that are losing out. Vodafone and Orange both have a larger share of churners relative to their market share," added Johnson.

"Twenty two per cent of respondents who churned had been with Vodafone and 24 per cent with Orange.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.