Wireless Speed, Device Portability Key for Consumers: Deloitte

The survey revealed that of all mobile devices, tablets have the fastest growth of ownership, increasing 48 percent since 2012.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers in the United States report that they most often connect their smartphones to WiFi networks as opposed to a mobile network when using the Internet, according to Deloitte’s third edition Global Mobile Consumer Survey (GMCS).

In addition, the survey indicated that consumers who have already adopted 4G are actually more likely to seek out faster WiFi alternatives when they need better speed and performance and are conscious about the cost of their mobile data plan (by an 11 percent margin over their non-4G counterparts).

"What drives mobility and enables everything in the ecosystem is ultimately the wireless network," Craig Wigginton, vice chairman and U.S. telecommunications sector leader for Deloitte, said in a statement. "As consumers become more comfortable moving between types of networks, we anticipate a peaceful co-existence between WiFi and 4G to support all types of activities, be it for work, play or new types of social interactions."

Similarly, U.S. consumers also reported a willingness to spend more to get faster speeds, with 41 percent of respondents indicating that they would be willing to pay more for substantially faster speeds, with nearly 10 percent willing to pay up to $30 on top of their current rates.

The survey revealed that of all mobile devices, tablets have the fastest growth of ownership, increasing 48 percent since 2012. From a demographic standpoint, growth is greatest among those ages 25-34 with 74 percent year-over-year growth, and the second largest growth is with those ages 55 and older (45 percent year-over-year growth).

The study also noted that the most popular activities for tablets are those when consumers are typically fixed for longer periods of time–watching movies, streaming content and reading books, while smartphones are most popular for more dynamic activities, such as navigation, email and photos.

Furthermore, tablet use is driving more smartphone use but less laptop use, with 34 percent of tablet owners indicating they now use their laptop less often. At the core of this phenomenon is that tablets are being used more as fixed devices (albeit portable) than truly mobile devices.

Near field communication (NFC) technology, while still niche, is showing strong use among a small group of consumers--10 percent of respondents said that their phone has NFC technology, a 103 percent increase from 2012 and more than one-third of the people who have the technology have used it in the past month.

Organizations are responding to the increasing use of mobile devices in the workplace, with 45 percent of organizations adopting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.

The survey also revealed a higher-than-expected 51 percent of employees who work where BYOD policies are offered primarily use their personal device as their work device, and 58 percent of those personal device owners receive the same or more reimbursement.

One of the fears (technical incompatibility and challenges) around BYOD may be less of a factor than anticipated, with 69 percent of organizations that implemented a BYOD policy reporting they experienced no technical or support-related challenges, the study suggested.