With mobile operators launching 4G, you won’t be surprised to hear that we’ve been carefully watching the effect of this on WiFi usage.

The new capabilities of 4G have resulted in the launch of smartphones with larger screens, higher speed mobile broadband, richer applications and an improved user experience. As you might expect, this has caused an increase in the amount of cellular data consumed by subscribers with 4G devices.

Until recently it’s been difficult to gain information about WiFi data usage. Because WiFi usage doesn’t go over the mobile networks, mobile operators haven’t been able to measure WiFi usage.

However, a research report by Devicescape has recently compared wireless data usage on 4G smartphones, with usage on 3G, from tens of millions of devices, measuring actual data consumption from March to August 2013.

The key trend is that WiFi and cellular data usage has doubled when comparing 4G with 3G customers. The research found that 4G users consumed over twice the amount of data per month than 3G customers do. This is because 4G customers use their device more and tend to use richer data. Because of this, and the higher speeds available, 4G users are using their handsets even more than 3G, for video and music streaming. Customers are using a mixture of 4G and WiFi, depending on where they are and what the connection is like, and this is resulting in higher wireless usage.

So far from decreasing the need for public wifi, the launch of 4G has had the opposite effect. As consumers move over to 4G, and increasingly look for free, secure WiFi access wherever they are, businesses of all kinds need to ensure they are supplying this need.