Sep, 15 2012

The smartphone boost has caused major strains in carrier networks. Suddenly, we have an abundance devices that require as much data and speed as a computer, but running on cellphone towers 24/7. Of course, carriers are forced to improve their towers, but this costs substantial amounts of money (ultimately, the consumer pays for it). Another great way to alleviate this is by convincing users to use Wi-Fi more often, which is what US Cellular is trying to accomplish with its new app Wi-Fi now, but is it worth it?

This app runs in the background, forcing your smartphone to connect to partner Wi-Fi hotspots when available. The idea is simple, and it may improve the network for when you need it most. But there are some downsides; your device would probably connect to Wi-Fi hotspots even if the signal is weaker, making your internet connection less efficient.

This is why I prefer not using apps that make you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot automatically. The issue would be much more notable if going through a large city, where you would be constantly connecting and disconnecting from Wi-Fi hotspots. The hiccups would be short, but inconvenient enough to not entice users to enable such feature.

We feel US Cellular would do best by enticing users in a more direct way. For example, T-Mobile offers Wi-Fi calling, which allowed you to make calls through Wi-Fi networks without the minutes being taken out of your plan. Republic Wireless offers a much more enticing deal by only charging $20 a month, though the user is forced to have automatic Wi-Fi log-in on.

Sometimes customers need to see a reward up-front if they want to help out the carrier, but this app would help you lower your carrier data consumption. It should be worth a try, so head over to the Google Play Store and download it if you are a US Cellular customer.

[Via: Engadget]

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