Mobile data is increasing in importance with every passing moment. It's now worth its hypothetical weight in gold, and carriers are starting to jack the prices. Okay, maybe they're not exactly jacking prices. But they are choking heavy data users out, either forcing users into expensive tiered plans that come with steep overage fees (or heavy throttling) or negating old grandfathered "unlimited" plans with painfully slow throttled speeds.

Personally, this hits me hard. I tend to reach or near my 2GB cap on T-Mobile fairly often, and I use quite a bit of data on my other line as well. I have yet to be throttled by Verizon. But that's because I try to avoid it. The day I get throttled on the unlimited plan Big Red let me keep may be the day I completely lose it. Not only is it a bending of the rules, but it's a poor business practice and shows how little Verizon really cares about me as a customer. It makes me feel like I'm just a name on a check (or bank draft, really) at the end of the month.

I digress (and apologize for the short rant) ...

Throttled data isn't the end of the world. It's simply a major annoyance and something that has virtually no purpose beyond forcing users into capped plans. Of course, carriers would have you believe that it's to relieve some stress on their suffering networks. And I'm sure that some markets are more taxed than others. Regardless, numbers show that throttling is mostly ineffective.

Average data usage is on the rise, and in order to avoid having to face harsh throttle speeds or switching to a tiered plan, users will need to keep a close watch on and manage their usage. A good way to do just that is by connecting to Wi-Fi when an open (and public) network is available.

A recent report by Mobidia suggests that this may be exactly what smartphone users are doing to relieve the pressure. Michelle Ruhfass of MobileBurn reports that smartphones are consuming twice as much Wi-Fi data as cellular data – a staggering 70 percent of mobile data is being consumed via Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi, apparently, is now the mobile connection of choice for many. Mobidia Vice President of Marketing Chris Hill states:

"Not only did we find that data usage on smartphones was much higher than the typical 100-500 megabytes average monthly usage that is often cited, but we also found that Wi-Fi usage often outpaced mobile usage by as much as six-to-one in some countries."

That's a surprising figure, to say the least. I know smartphone users like their Wi-Fi. But never would I have imagined that 70 percent of their web traffic is consumed through Wi-Fi.

Using a total of about 5-7GB of mobile data per month between my two lines, I'm likely considered a power user (on the low end of the spectrum). Yet, I know this number is far short of my actual usage. I am connected to Wi-Fi almost the entire time I am writing every day. The only days that I'm not connected to Wi-Fi are my days off. For me, 70 percent of my usage being through Wi-Fi would be a fair estimate. And I guess I'm okay with that. I don't ever give it much thought.

But I know there are some out there who think radically different. Some feel they should not have to use Wi-Fi over a mobile network for any reason. Aaron, for instance, hardly (if ever) connects his phones to Wi-Fi. I remember him telling me one day that he feels that he should get the most out of the services that he pays for, and that he shouldn't have to rely on a separate network to supply him with consistent service.

I agree. Completely. But the fact of the matter is that no network is that good. I don't really use Wi-Fi to keep my mobile data usage down. I do it for the consistent signal and to save on battery life. But if data speeds weren't so inconsistent where I now live, I would probably never even turn Wi-Fi on. Within my house, T-Mobile service jumps between EDGE, 3G and HSPA+ every couple minutes and makes the experience nearly unbearable. So I use Wi-Fi.

What I'm interested in, though, is whether you guys and gals use Wi-Fi on your phones as your primary connection and just use the mobile network while you're out of of the house. Or do you just use Wi-Fi when you have to? Do you use Wi-Fi to keep from being throttled? It's an odd topic, I know. But I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the issue, so share them below!

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125 Reactions to this post

"Do you use Wi-Fi when it's available?"

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Gerald Mccrae I have unlimited data and mobile hot spot on my Motorola droid raza and love it Verizon is top dog in my book
Kemar Young helll yea
Marvin Campbell I use Wi-Fi when available but my plan covers 6 gigs a month, Canada on the Bell network.
Tom Parker I hate AT&T. I uses data every chance I get.
Eddie Tam i don't connect to wifi every where even if it is available.. some wifi is too slow to do anything with.. like at the shopping mall which is pointless. unless i start carrying around my modified DirectTV dish to capture higher signal :)
Curtis Owens wi fi only for data if possible!
Genaro Molina It depends how slow my 3g is working since my motorola is barely equipped with a 1340MaH battery.
Femi Sasona I use wifi whenever It is available since I don't have the unlimited data plan just yet.
Brayden Vaughn York Not every chance.. just when ik its avalible
Aaron Lane Yes I do.
Daniel Soto Yes I'm on AT&T
Rhonda Iden yes sure do. saves me alot of my data, so much that I'm thinking of reducing to a smaller plan!
Ryan Wynn Yes!! I'm using it on my Verizon iPad at home right now!
Tavaris Johnson Dame right!
Ivan Pineiro Yes because Sprint is slow as hell.
Chris Narez Hell no. 4g lte in my rzar maxx is great. Plus i have unlimited. I need to used it since im paying. For it.
Gabriel Freeman Because of carriers, yes. Plus without wifi calling, we wouldn't get T-Mobile signal in our own house. Its the bomb.
Baron Crandall Almost always on wifi
Daniel Sanchez The easiest way to get 4G on my 3G phone is using wi-fi! I always use it at home and maybe at work. I am on Verizon and have a 2GB month usage plan, but I've never used more than .5GB in one month.
Mark E If I need to conserve as much battery as possible then yes
Alex Castillo Only at my house!
Ricardo Lopez yup its faster than edge. i dont get 4g at home -.- smh tmo
Alfredo E. Lopez No unlimited 4g plan rocks
Kong Yang Nope. Only use WiFi at home but when I'm out, I always use 4G LTE.
Tina Marie Burbank No I have unlimited data, still have my old Alltel Contract on Verizon!! I love it!! No paying extra for DATA!
Joe Aranzullo Never open networks.. why not just hand your credit card and social security card out to people?? But yeah, at home and work.. behind wpa2 aes.. ill jump on board.
George Isenhart Always especially with my tablet since my plan only includes 2 GB a month plus in some cases its much faster for the purpose of watching video.
Jim Mccoy Wifi only unless I really need to google something.
Tim Lindt Yes I use it always when it is available, and at home, like right now :)
Tony Cervantes Yup! Using it right now :)
Michael Alvarado Castellano Yes I use it a lot
Justin Cartier Yes, most of the time.
Amarjot Sawhney is there a question about it?
Erman Guido Of course, it's much faster than 3G.
Nick Kathrein Wifi is fastest. Use wifi when possible.
Derwayne Travis Humphrey Hell yea WiFi the best
Gil Batzri All the time. AT&T's data service in SF is horrendous.
J Kasey Haggerty Hell yeah. I use WiFi calling when I don't have any 3G/4G coverage
Stanley McMillian I'd love to, but my lovely Evo Shift (4G..but not really), barely stays charged with moderate texting for 8 hours. Battery life is def #1 priority my next phone
Xtian Medina ???? ?? ????...????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ? ???..? ????? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ???...
Steven Hair If it's secured yep, no open wifi for me.
Rashaud Cook Hell yeah
Don Lynn Always. Much faster than 3g here.
Ryan Rampersad WiFi at my University is usually faster than 3G is, but my phone sometimes can't find a stable connection (perhaps because everyone else is also using it).
Kristen Barnard Nah. I have unlimited data and the 4g seems to work faster than my wifi
Paul Ibe Always at home if I'm there.
Daniel Cuadrado Most of the time.
Victor Brownwell Every chance I get!
Yvonne Soto All the time!!!
Dave Aké Fo sho
Andres Barroeta I don't , I use lte all te time
Braylon Johnson No I have unlimited data with AT&T. Lmao I've been with AT&T since the. iPhone 3G.
Yeo Salolin Yeah... When its necessary... Wi-Fi is better than 3G... Obvious..!!
Ignacio Gonzalez At home, yes. Have a more than adequate home Wi-Fi setup...up to around 20Mbps down and 4Mbps up. Besides, I have the Moto Droid RAZR...and LTE has a voracious appetite for battery juice. Also, I just set it to "CDMA Only" to save battery. 3G is usually more than adequate, anyways.
Allan Morrill I use WiFi as much as possible unless I'm driving or there is no WiFi around
Kyle Cordiano All the time
Jamal Simpson Yes because of att throttling, unlimited data my ass, don't get me started on them
French Twist Only on trusted secure networks.
Memo Mrtr Yes I do
Myra Hill Yes I do.
Brad Haislip Yes I do
Benjamin Padilla Sprint is so slow now so yes. I blame iPhone users. Lol.
Wissam Salah Al-fakiany all the time my internet plan sucks ..... i tend not to use it when i can . i buy a week worth of internet when i really need it .
Tim Killian When on 3G yeah. LTE, not really.
Kerleem Shah Only at home because my wifi is faster than Verizon 3G but otherwise I believe in using what I pay for
Eddie Tafolla If its free... Mole
Kelly Kavanagh "I do it for the consistent signal and to save on battery life." I couldn't believe how much longer my battery life was when I connected to Wifi at home and in the office.
Gordon Christie Only when at home have unlimited data plan
Jose Angel Santiago I do although I have unlimited data from Sprint.
Zach Cline I might try something out with 4G next time around as my unlimited plan carries over into it.
Tim Gruber Only because its better on battery life and faster than 3g. My 5gb plan on us cellular is as good as unlimited
Bradley Larcher Yup. Always. Saves data and is also a lot faster
Sam Rodriguez At home I use my Wi-Fi but on the regular basis I always use my phones connections. Everyone bitches about sprints service but here in my town its faster than every other provider. We just broke 100k people in my town
Jordon Folkes Always WIND mobiles network is DOODOO.
Robert Wernikoff Oh hell yeah I do. I'm on Tmobile so I definitely need wifi when I can so I don't get throttled
Farhan Jaffer gotta have a data plan but can't beat free wi-fi!
Paul Alexandru When i'm at home i use it all the time
Noel Hernandez I have it set to automatic when i get home
Dee Moe Sure do
Neil Leisenheimer Yes I do! Screw data plans!
Kryptik Slawter Yes, apparently I get faster data speeds at McDonalds then my 4G coverage. At&t throttling is ridiculous
Rafael Guzman I sure do
Benjamin Gorlich Never, I am grandfathered into Verizon unlimited and my home WiFi is no faster than 3g
Aimee McEnerney Whenever it's faster and I don't need to jump through hoops to do it.
DiJay Isac When ever possible.
Gabrielle Karl when I am at work and the 4G network is lagging
Aaron Couts Yep use my schools all the time quicker and more solid.
Joseph Hughes Yes.. I doing it right now.
Hubert John Abiera Not really. Once in a while when I am about to watch a tv show episode, but that's not very often.
Daniel Quintero No I have sprint no need unless at home Whee its faster
Jose Rodriguez I don't. I have the "unlimited" 3GB data plan and it's more than enough for my use: email, FB, Twitter, Pandora, Youtube and web surfing.
Travis Brown I used to but my razr maxx runs great on 4g all day
MÅnuel VÅllejo If its free I'm using it :)
Rob Melone PhoneDog - they're jacking prices....a rose by any other name is still a rose...lol
Willie Kelly Yup, saves on battery and data limits.
Jimmy Knight Absolutely the iPhone 4s is a whole different beast when on wifi
Dylan Daratt Nope the joys of unlimited data with no throttling!
Rob Melone Absolutely - Why wouldn't I want to use someone else's data line...lol
Shaina Swanson im home most of the day, and my phone is connected at every chance... it saves me on minutes too
Jonathan Z. Dadekian I do it because T-Mobile internet service isn't reliable in my house so Wi-Fi is always enabled...
Art Morris It depends on which is faster. Frequently, public wi-fi is slow. When I'm at home, sure. But, that's not always the case elsewhere.
Robert Wellington Clubine III It is wise to use a secured wireless network. To save on the costs, etc...
Jamie Schumacher Before i had Verizon and unlimited data I did, now I don't need to.
Andrew Marty Yeah data is where its at
Luis Castro Yes whenever I get a chance
Zach Cline Not at all. Unlimited data ftw!!!!
Tony Burgess I do the same. It makes sense and cents.
Francesco Vincent Parisi Noeske yes, every time i find an access point

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