The Cloud, the biggest provider of public WiFi on Britain’s high streets, has today released usage figures which highlight the increasing popularity of tablet devices in the UK. Assessing the number of tablets using its public WiFi network, The Cloud has reported a 436% year-on-year increase in the first two weeks of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
In addition to the rise in devices using The Cloud’s network, there has also been an increase in the number of online WiFi sessions via tablets (642%) between January 2012 and 2013, and an even bigger boom in the number of minutes users are spending online via their tablets, with The Cloud reporting a 731% increase.
This data suggests tablet users are spending significantly more time with their devices in hotspot locations, perhaps because the larger screen lends itself to more comfortable and thus longer sessions of typing emails, surfing the web or watching video content.
Ofcom reported in Dec-2012 that 19% of UK households owned a tablet*, but millions of extra devices were expected to be sold at Christmas and the increased usage on The Cloud’s network in the first half of January is a sign of these new tablets being registered and coming on stream.
Vince Russell, Managing Director of The Cloud, said: “We’re seeing another major shift in the types of devices using our WiFi network. Five years ago it was dominated by business people using their laptops, then smartphones took over as they became mainstream devices. While tablets are still only responsible for a small percentage of the overall traffic on our network, they are growing at a huge rate and it’s highly likely that, in another couple of years, tablets will be as common a sight in WiFi hotspots as smartphones. The emergence of so call mini tablets is only likely to accelerate this trend.”
The Cloud itself saw extensive growth in 2012 with over 16,000 venues such as M&S, Greggs and Greene King pubs now offering their customers free WiFi and an estimated 6m people passing through the WiFi network every day.