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iPhone owners use Wi-Fi more than Android owners in U.S. and U.K.

A study released on Monday found that iPhone users in the U.S. and the U.K. are significantly more likely to utilize Wi-Fi for their data needs than Android users who operate heavily on wireless networks.

According to research firm ComScore's February Device Essentials study, 71 percent of iPhone users in the U.S. leverage both cellular and Wi-Fi networks compared to 32 percent of Android users. The numbers are skewed even more toward Wi-Fi in the U.K. where the share of iOS and Android users utilizing both types of connections comes in at 87 percent and 57 percent, respectively.

Offering some explanation as to why the data varies between the two nations, ComScore's President of Operator and Mobile Solutions Serge Matta said that, "in the U.K., the scarcity of unlimited data plans and higher incidence of smartphone pre-paid contracts with a pay-as-you-go data model likely contributes to data offloading among users wanting to economize their mobile usage."

He goes on to say that the lack of high speed 4G networks like those in the U.S. might be forcing U.K. users to move to Wi-Fi connections. Matta notes, however, that U.S. users may see a shift toward Wi-Fi as so-called "unlimited" plans fall to the wayside. AT&T recently announced that it would be throttling the speed of grandfathered-in "unlimited data" plans when a user crosses a 3GB threshold.

Chart: Mobile and Wi-Fi Internet Connection Activity Across iOS and Android Smartphone Platforms in the U.S. and U.K. (Feb-2012)Description: A U.S. analysis of Wi-Fi and mobile Internet usage across unique smartphones on the iOS and Android platforms reveals that 71 percent of all unique iPhones used both mobile and Wi-Fi networks to connect to the Internet, while only 32 percent of unique Android mobile phones used both types of connections. A further analysis of this pattern of behavior in the U.K. shows consistent results, as 87 percent of unique iPhones used both mobile and Wi-Fi networks for web access compared to a lower 57 percent of Android phones. Source: comScore Device Essentials, February 2012Tags: 3G, Wi-FiAuthor: comScorecharts powered by iCharts

Breaking down the findings by carrier, iPhone owners on AT&T's network used Wi-Fi more than any other U.S. carrier because the telecom has both a larger share of Apple's handset as well as the nation's largest hotspot network. In the U.K., In the U.K., handsets on Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange networks were found to use Wi-Fi more than those on other U.K. operators' networks.