Wi-Fi vs mobile data - which has the fastest speeds?

Everyone wants to always be ‘connected’. This is hardly surprising when we consider that a connection to the internet is needed for you to send and receive emails, use social networks like Facebook and WhatsApp, download apps and games or stream music and video.

Last updated: 16th Oct 2018 at 4:32pm

We expect these services to always be on and we hate it when there is delay, even of a few seconds. If you have been frustrated when refreshing your social network feed, sharing pictures, streaming content or downloading apps and games, then you probably want to know whether Wi-Fi or mobile data has the fastest speeds.

First, let’s quickly clarify what Wi-Fi and mobile data are:

  • Wi-Fi - This includes the wireless signal of your home broadband or public Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Mobile data - This is the connection to the internet that is provided by your mobile network

The speed of your Wi-Fi connection may depend upon your broadband provider, while the speed of public Wi-Fi may vary significantly, based upon how many people are connecting to it. Of course, you will also need to find a public Wi-Fi hotspot if you are out and about.

The Asda Mobile data service uses EE’s infrastructure. This gives our mobile data service the fastest 4G speeds in the UK. Not only is our 4G mobile data service the fastest, it is also available in more places with 99% of the UK population receiving a signal!

Is Wi-Fi faster than 4G?

The line between the speeds of Wi-Fi and 4G is getting very close... In general, Wi-Fi is slightly faster than 4G mobile data but this isn’t always the case, particularly if you live in a city. Public Wi-Fi connections are often slower since more people connect to it at the same time. However, your home Wi-Fi will most probably be faster than your 4G – so 4G data is best used outside of the home.

However, speed isn’t everything. There are other things that you may want to consider when choosing to use Wi-Fi or mobile data. These considerations include safety and power consumption. We’ll take a look at these now, so that you can make the right choice on whether to use Wi-Fi or mobile data.

Wi-Fi vs mobile data - which is safer?

4G mobile data is safer and more secure than public Wi-Fi because the data that is transmitted is encrypted. Examples of public Wi-Fi includes those offered by hotels, in airports or other transport hubs, shopping centres, cafes and restaurants.

Private Wi-Fi connections are typically secure since they require a password, and the data sent and received is encrypted – so you shouldn’t worry too much about using your home Wi-Fi.

To ensure your private data (like passwords or banking details) stays safe, you should try to use your mobile data service when out and about and avoid public Wi-Fi. Data sent through 4G is encrypted, which makes it safer than public connections.

Wi-Fi vs mobile data - which uses more power?

When your mobile phone is using Wi-Fi, it consumes less power than it would if you used mobile data. There are several reasons for this and they are related to the way that mobile data technology works.

There are however several things that you can do to protect your battery reserves. If you are using your home Wi-Fi, then you can turn 4G mobile data off to save power. Likewise, if you are out of your home, then you can turn off Wi-Fi so that your phone isn’t constantly searching for a Wi-Fi network. Head to this page for more battery-saving tips!

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