Smartphones overtake laptops for ways to access Wi-Fi hotspots

Smartphones overtake laptops for ways to access Wi-Fi hotspots

The growth of smartphones for business use has led to a rise in the number of the devices being used to access Wi-Fi hotspots.

According to a report compiled by Informa Telecoms & Media and released by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) in the US, smartphones are now the most popular way of connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Two-thirds of respondents use their mobile phone to access wireless broadband, putting laptops into second place at 39 per cent, followed by tablets at 17 per cent.

Kevin Baughen, director of wireless at Virgin Media Business, said that the report indicates just how far technology has come in recent years, noting that "where the US leads, the UK usually follows".

"We recently spoke to 500 CIOs with 40 per cent telling us smartphones are now the most important device for connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots."

The growth of Wi-Fi hotspots around the UK and the rest of the world is also helping the increase in the number of smartphones accessing the networks. The London Underground is one of the most recent areas to offer Wi-Fi access, with it more likely that professionals will access this through their mobile phone, rather than a laptop.

"We're consuming mobile data at a quicker rate than ever before and people and businesses alike expect fast, reliable connections. If what is happening in the States repeats itself here, operators and service providers need to work together on a variety of solutions for the longer-term, ensuring that consumers can continue to benefit from the 'access anywhere' world we are now living in."

Wi-Fi hotspots also look set to grow rapidly in other areas, with the survey revealing that operators are focused on boosting the technology in wide outdoor areas, transport hubs, and social venues, which will further boost the potential for flexible working.

These deployments will be in parallel with 4G LTE deployments with over 70 per cent of survey respondents planning to continue investing in both technologies.