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Demand for public Wi-Fi appears to be holding firm among 4G users, despite the fact they have access to super-fast mobile broadband speeds.

A new study commissioned by Arqiva revealed that three in five (58 per cent) 4G customers would consider switching broadband provider if they had access to public Wi-Fi as part of their package.

More than three-quarters of consumers surveyed (76 per cent) said they continue to use public Wi-Fi when it is available.

Arqiva found that 4G customers (75 per cent) are only slightly less likely to do so, despite paying for access to next-generation mobile services.

The firm found that the three most common reasons for using public Wi-Fi hotspots are (1) the fact it is free; (2) the lack of mobile signal; (3) the fast speeds available.

Nicolas Ott, Managing Director of Telecoms at Arqiva, said that with consumers living constantly connected, digital lives, they are now demanding the ability to stay online whenever and wherever they are.

"As the variety of high-bandwidth connectivity options increases, we wanted to understand more about consumer attitudes to the costs versus availability between public Wi-Fi and mobile networks," he stated.

"Revealing the clear value consumers still attach to public Wi-Fi provision, the results offer some interesting insights for mobile network operators."

Mr Ott explained that survey respondents identified mobile operators as being the most obvious providers of public Wi-Fi networks.

This is despite the fact fixed-line broadband providers BT and Sky have the largest public Wi-Fi networks in the UK.

He claimed that the study highlights a "churn opportunity" for mobile operators, with service providers potentially able to attract new customers by offering free wireless hotspots.

"Operators should look at the connectivity bundle packages they can offer their customers in order to further increase brand loyalty and sales," Mr Ott added.

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