Overall the study claims that 72% of people still prefer to use their Smartphone or Tablet based Mobile Broadband (3G or 4G) connection to surf the Internet when out and about, while just 21% would pick Public WiFi and only 7% said they wouldn’t use either; this question also asked respondents to assume that both services were being offered via a good signal.
The survey then asked whether respondents would only use a WiFi hotspot if there was a very poor or no Mobile Broadband signal and 58% agreed (25% said “No” and 17% answered “Maybe”), but what really puts people off using public WiFi is the security risk.
Q. What is the biggest single problem with public WiFi?
Security – 42.9%
Fiddly Signup Forms – 30.1%
Performance – 15.6%
Sporadic Coverage – 7.5%
Price – 2.1%
Other – 1.4%
The result marks a noticeable change from when the same survey was first conducted two years ago. At that time 63% (vs 72% in 2016) said they preferred Mobile Broadband to Public WiFi, although “Security” (34%) and “Fiddly Signup Forms” (25%) were still top of the major gripes.
“The trouble with Public Wi-Fi is that Mobile Broadband connections have improved a lot over the past few years, largely thanks to the roll-out of faster 4G technology. On the flip side the patch-work quilt of Wi-Fi hotspots, many of which require users to complete fiddly sign-up forms in order to gain access, often don’t deliver good performance,” said ISPreview.co.uk’s Founder, Mark Jackson.
“A growing number of reports have also shed fresh light on the security risks of public WiFi, especially public networks, which can result in users having their personal data stolen or devices hijacked. This may explain why more respondents have highlighted security concerns in 2016 (43%) than 2014 (34%). On top of that it’s often very difficult to identify whether or not a particular WiFi network is secure, although some of that risk could be mitigated by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to help protect your connection,” concluded Jackson.