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Poll: WiFi or 3G for mobile usage?

My latest entry on the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic sparked a nice little debate on people’s preference and usage behavior between WiFi and 3G on mobile phones.

I thought it would be good if I asked my readers here which of the two modes of connectivity they often use.

So our poll for this week — WiFi or 3G: Which one do you often use with your phone?

wifi vs 3g

As usual, I’ve added a poll at the sidebar so you can submit your votes there but please leave a comment if you want to share your own usage behavior and why you chose one over the other.


As for me, even if my place is full wireless, I think most often use 3G on my phone. I access 3G on the road, while driving and outside the house — with my phone, that would be about 90% of the time.

There are 2 factors that affected my usage behavior in favor of 3G — one is that I have allocated 3G minutes on my postpaid account and, second, 3G internet is pretty cheap and fast nowadays that I don’t really bother looking for free wifi whenever I’m in public places.

Update: I’d like to clarify that this poll is not about which is better or faster. It’s a survey which of the two modes of connection you often use despite the advantages of one over the other.

Let’s look at an example:

Mobile 3G on Phone: 90% coverage area of Metro Manila, 100 – 300Kbps speeds
WiFi on Phone: 1% coverage area of Metro Manila, 256Kbps – 3Mbps speeds

Is the mobility of a 3G connection more suitable for you or the speed of WiFi? And by the way, WiFi speed is also dependent on its source. If you’re using WiFi on dial-up connection, your WiFi is still going to be slow.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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55 Responses

  1. rjca says:

    I don’t have an unlimited data plan and the most I go without internet is 8-10 hours, if I need to check something important like a transaction I need only to go to Mcdonalds or at the cinemas area in my usual mall which both have free Wi-Fi.

  2. Vance says:

    I choose Wifi!

    1.) 3G in Manila is still immature. It is unstable. Lacks development. Thirdly, only one company offers unlimited data plan.

    2.) Speed. Wifi is much faster then 3G (maybe here in Manila)

    3.) Readily available on all gadgets… especially mobile phones.

  3. ERWIN:-) says:

    I don’t have a 3G phone (haha!). But I always use WiFi at home — on my netbook or my PSP. But after Yuga explained how useful and cheap 3G is, I’m so eager to try it. I’m just waiting (and drooling at the same time) for Nokia E52. :)

    If most people prefer WiFi on their mobile phone, it would be because WiFi is free. I think, 3G rate is at 10 pesos for 30 minutes.

  4. crestfallen says:

    i’m a cheapskate so i choose wifi! :p

  5. Glenn Santos says:

    3G is nice and all but most of the time it doesn’t come out of the sim and you have to set it up. With WiFi, it’s just there – much simpler and it’s also less complicated than 3G usage for netbook and laptop owners.

    Plus iPod Touch toting peeps love the free WiFi mooch (like me!) :)

  6. Ardz says:

    3G for me. WiFi is too limiting for me. If you need to do a quick check on the internet using your phone, you can do it immediately since 3G is available almost anywhere (even in the provinces) whereas WiFi hotspots are scarce in locations outside the metro and impossible to use while on the move.

  7. Jumal says:

    Wifi for me.. Free is always better not unless you need the reliability of 3G.

  8. yuga says:

    Hi guys!

    Thanks for the comments. I was actually asking which of the 2 you often use (not the one you prefer) on a regular basis.

  9. Adrian says:

    I think WiFi.

  10. paul says:

    i use both. kinda location dependent. if i’m in a place where there’s no wi-fi access, then 3G’s my daddy. rates now are really dirt-cheap. but if there’s a free wi-fi hotspot in the area, i’d definitely use it.

  11. Jeric says:

    At home and when travelling, 100percent 3g. I only use wifi at the office.

  12. Phaw says:

    I use both. Wifi at home, 3g when mobile

  13. jums says:

    i use wifi at home (im home only during weekends :-) )
    i use Smart 3G [ooops, ads :-)] when playing travian.ph in my boardinghouse

  14. MP says:

    3G/GPRS for me when on the road. WiFi in the office or if there are free access in public.

  15. Rome says:

    There are lots of free wi-fi in places were I frequently go to so I use that more often than 3G (FREE is the keyword), though I sometimes use 3G just to max out “blindingly” the data plan I am subscribed at especially during on-the-go situations.

  16. I use wifi whenever it is available. But most of the time I always on the road that’s why 3G/GPRS is the best option for me. Hope cell provider improve their services.

  17. eithan says:

    i dont have a cellphone =(

  18. I use both. It depends to where I am. When I’m at home I use wifi, but when I’m on mobile I use 3G.

    Nino Natividad

  19. I use both..well, it depends.

    When I’m at home and at any wifi spot I use WiFi but when I’m on mobile and hotspot available, I use 3G.

    Nino Natividad

  20. Fredmon says:

    I still go for wifi as I have a wifi router at home and there are establishments on frequent places I go which offer free wifi. I only use 3G when I’m out in the province and the speed there is not HSDPA (3.2mbps) yet they still use 3G (384kbps).

  21. chris says:

    i prefer using 3G most of the time… it is my weapon on the go except when i am in malls or locations that have free wifi access (c’mon free is still the best! lol..)

  22. (Free) WiFi is like everywhere na rin naman eh :)

  23. Jam. says:

    When in a mall, i love wi-fi. But when travelling. I love 3g

  24. agentdap says:

    wifi, bagad ng 3G dito. sayang lang bayad.

  25. wifi sken! 3G connection ndi naman nationwide… very low ang signal stability ng 3G ng globe d2 samin, my place is here at Bulacan near the border of Pampanga… kaya wifi ang lagi ko ginagamit..

  26. princeallanigue says:


    3g signal is very low

  27. Eka says:

    WiFi is still better than 3G because the signal in Manila is really bad. I’d rather use dial-up connection kung mag 3G din lang ako…

  28. berto de los santos says:

    Well, I think if you run a blog like this, you should be more knowledgeable about what is wifi and what is 3G. Do your homework Yuga and don’t disappoint your readers with your knowledge level.

  29. Jazmine says:

    3G is Slow . Hello ? It takes me foerver to load my FB page. Wifi is faster ….arent u geeks that smart, or does a chick have to knock some brain into that hardthinking muscle?

  30. yuga says:

    @berto – I don’t get what you mean. This entry is practically a research tool to survey what people use in connecting their phones to the internet.

    I fully know the advantages and disadvantages of wifi over 3G (and vice versa) on a mobile phone. What I am asking readers is that despite these pros and cons, which one do they find using more often.

    Again, please read the entry carefully before posting an uninformed comment.

    @Jazmine – WiFi speed is dependent on the type of connection it distributes. If your WiFi is hooked to a dial-up connection, you only get 56kbps max on your WiFi.

  31. berto de los santos says:

    It is comparing apples with pears. Never mind. If you think I am not well-informed, that is your opinion. Thanks for your comment. I will refrain from giving my opinion if that is more comfortable for you.

  32. yuga says:

    @berto – again, my intention was not to compare but to gather “usage behavior of people when using their phone to connect to the internet”.

    It’s like asking people what type of network they use at home — wired (1Gbps) or wireless (54Mbps). Even if wired is much faster, some people might prefer the mobility over the speed. The same is true with 3G and WiFi – 3G offers mobility and WiFi offers speed.

    Hope this clarifies my intent on the poll. And yes, it’s also okay with me if in your opinion, I am not doing enough research (when gathering responses on this entry is basically what I am doing). And btw, I do value your opinion. It makes me more motivated to clarify ambiguities in my articles.

  33. Vance says:

    I use Wifi most of the time, since it is Freee!! Daming Free WIFi hotspot in manila.

  34. culdado says:

    wifi coz free.. anyway, ano ba ang may unlimited data plan? smart o globe? and how much is it? i am thinking of getting one

  35. Rome says:

    I think Sun is the only carrier that offers unlimited data plans here in the Philippines (correct me if I’m wrong)… wish Globe would also offer an unlimited data plan (or everything unlimited like the carriers in the US) with a price that is as “competitive” as Sun’s unlimited plan (read: CHEAP)… pero sa Globe, mukhang imposible. =)

  36. bokoi says:

    no offense but i find this poll somewhat useless. for one,it is pretty obvious people with wifi capable fone would prefer wifi on an area that offers free wifi access and 3G only if wifi is not an option. think about it…

    wifi on dial-up? never heard of that…
    with very slow dial up speed and you get to share it via wifi??? sheeshhh…

  37. Ardz says:

    I noticed some entries are hinting more on the usage of wireless connections on laptops and netbooks rather than mobile phones. I prefer 3G/3.5G over WiFi since I have access anywhere. And in my experience, 3G is almost as fast as WiFi on the mobile phone so why bother to look for a hotspot? Think about this. You need to check your mail in a place wherein there’s no a WiFi hotspot and you only need 30 minutes to read them (15 if you’re a fast reader). The nearest is a jeepney ride away (Php7.00 minimum fare). Would you even bother to go to that place just to do a quick email check on your MOBILE PHONE? Now, if you’re talking about extended browsing using a laptop, it’s really more economical to just go to a WiFi hotspot (assuming that it’s free or you don’t have to buy something just to get access, which isn’t actually free). So for me, 3G on mobile phones, WiFi on laptops.

  38. john yid says:

    2G pa rin gamit ko.walang 3G and wifi signal sa amin.

  39. Gio says:

    i go for WIFI. 3G sucks here in philippines

  40. culdado says:

    @ Rome – thanks! how much ba unlimited data plan sa sun cell? ok naman ba sya?

  41. agentorenz says:

    wifi dito sa bahay.. ang mahal kasi pag 3g..kinakain ang load..

  42. For me, i find using wifi is more practical than 3g. Here in Philippines, the communication networks are not so being focused or give importance on their 3g feature. Although, there are few people here using this kind of technology but it would be quite expensive for an average people. I guess wifi is much cheaper and more useful in some ways.

  43. Wifi din ako, yun ang lagi kong ginagamit,; although gusto ko matry ang 3G-never had the chance though :D

  44. gabsanchez says:

    I can’t help but notice that some might have been confused with this entry’s intention. Well, whatever works.

  45. Mhaki says:

    A very professional reponse to negative comments, i give you that Abe. You just can’t please everyone! Keep it up and keep it coming! Btw, i use 3g alone with my phone.

  46. Atlanta SEO says:

    every time I see this kind of thing I get jealous. We are JUST now getting WiFi in our city and it’s more than my DSL bill at home, and still kind of spotty. My buds across seas have been getting free, open wifi for a while, now and AT&T costs me about $60/month just for my iphone data plan (another $50 for voice plan)… Of course Im on 3G about 80% of the time, and the rest I’m just in a local spot, not true city-wide wifi…
    Sad that for the amount of money the average user here pays, our rate is behind everyone else!

  47. SoNn says:

    I use 3G (from Sun Broadband) for my Mac. I then share it over WiFi for my iPod touch. I guess it’s a tie. And since I moved to Sun Broadband, I seldom use Smart 3G anymore.

  48. anton says:

    3g and wifi shouldn’t really compete. both are useful for what each was intended to be.

    wifi is hands-down preferable when you’re a bit grounded — in your house, in a restaurant, coffee shop, resort, but still un-wired.

    3g is king for extremely mobile use — in a running vehicle, at the beach, in a parking lot, in a highway stop, in non-wifi zones.

    hopefully though, a new technology will come to replace both 3g and wifi. something exteremly mobile and far reaching, but extremly reliable and cheap as well.

    will wimax be this technology?

  49. vince says:

    i use wifi at home and wifi still at work.. its free eh.. i seldom use my operator’s connectivity options.. mahal eh..

  50. Dashboard says:

    WiFi – why not coconut! 3G ah?? spot the nut!

    Winner WiFi – why not!

  51. rObytot says:

    both i guess… but if the whole world is in WiFi, definitly WiFi…

  52. HolyMacaroni says:

    have you guys heard of the 4G? it can even contact ETs living in other planets.ill chose 4G…lol..how about you? are you one of us?

  53. lia says:

    …i think wi-fi, am an office worker, can access internet at pc during office hours, after then have coffe on a wi-fi establishment so…id settle for free..

  54. Rem says:

    WiFi on my 5800 and 3.5G/HSPA on my Sony Ericsson. Pero nag iinit kasi yung phone kapag HSPA gamit ko lagi. :D

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