(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Ten years ago, Wi-Fi was the connection of choice for mobile users, because it was faster and cheaper. That gradually did not become the case as years flew by: mobile connections are now faster than ever.
A study from OpenSignal, entitled The State of Wi-Fi vs Mobile Network Experience as 5G Arrives, showed that smartphone users in 33 countries now experience faster average download speeds using a mobile network rather than a Wi-Fi connection.
One parameter in which Wi-Fi has been consistent is the fact that it is cheaper than subscribing to an always-on-the-go mobile connection. But with mobile operators ramping up their infrastructure significantly and the fact that users need more powerful connectivity on demand, the scales have tipped in favour of mobile connections.
What's interesting is that the countries in this list is diverse: among those on the list include industrialised economies such as Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic and France, to emerging markets such as the Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar and the UAE.
Conversely, Wi-Fi is still doing pretty well in several countries. And an eye-catching tidbit: some of the top developed economies offer a faster experience on Wi-Fi versus a mobile network. Among them are Hong Kong, which is about 38.6Mbps faster on Wi-Fi, Singapore (34Mbps) and the United States (25Mbps).
There's a good reason for this though: these countries have a fixed networks that are relatively strong. China, India and the Philippines are among the countries where Wi-Fi is faster than mobile, according to the study.
Newer mobile network technologies offer faster connectivity: in 50 countries, or about 63 per cent that were studied, 4G networks have faster smartphone download experience compared to Wi-Fi, up from 41 per cent when compared to overall mobile download experience instead of 4G.
When it comes to the previous generation, 3G, only seven countries experienced faster speeds on Wi-Fi, with Lebanon having the best difference of about 3Mbps.
A separate study from Ericsson showed that mobile data traffic grew 79 per cent between the third quarters of 2017 and 2018 - the highest rate since 2013. This was led by Northeast Asia - mainly, China - which pushed the global total even higher.
With a traffic growth per smartphone of around 140 per cent between end 2017 and the end of 2018, the region has the second-highest data traffic per smartphone at 7.3GB per month - comparable to streaming HD video for around 10 hours per month.
North America remains No.1 when it comes to the highest data traffic per smartphone, and is set to reach 8.6GB per month by the end of this year - which can be compared to streaming HD video for over 12 hours monthly.
Between 2018-24, total mobile data traffic is expected to increase by a factor of five, with 5G networks projected to carry 25 per cent of mobile traffic by the end of the period.
"For communications service providers, a successful mobile broadband business is the base for addressing all the new opportunities that lie ahead," Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice-president and head of business area networks at Ericsson, said in the recent Ericsson Mobility Report.
If there's one reason for it, it's the modern smartphone, which has significantly and dramatically changed the world. Practically, almost everyone owns a smartphone, thanks to its capabilities of bringing almost anything to us, from entertainment to work-related matters. In particular, consumption of mobile video has exploded, leading to operators scrambling to intensify their networks to meet the demand.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out for the arrival of 5G, which has everyone amped up: with speeds of up to 10 times faster than 4G, the possibilities are, to put it simply, quite boundless.
"5G download speeds will transform how people engage with the world overnight," Richard Wilcox, regional director of Lenovo Data Centre Group Middle East, said.
"This breakthrough will help mainstream things like driverless cars, smart wearables, home security and industrial intelligence."