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WiFi now dominates mobile broadband usage

A European Commission study has 'discovered' that users are continuing to shift their mobile data access habit to WiFi . It claims that 71 per cent of all EU wireless data traffic in 2012 was delivered to smartphones and tablets using WiFi and the EU thinks this proportion likely to rise to 78 per cent by 2016. That seems like a safe bet.

It's certainly a trend being pushed along by an increasing number of operators. Telefonica/O2 for one appears to be enthusiastically rolling out a WiFi not, as in the past just for offload for its own customers, but as a free WiFi engagement strategy to all-comers with costs shared. Telefónica UK/O2 is using outdoor Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products for a free Wi-Fi service in and around London’s Canary Wharf, it's been announced today. Canary Wharf, for those who don't know, is a huge business and shopping district just to the east of the City of London occupying what used to be a huge area of docklands.

Today it contains a working population of over 100,000 people - many of them young(ish) data-hungry mobile device users.

O2 will be offering free Wi-Fi access across all Canary Wharf public areas - four shopping malls with over 240 cafés, bars, restaurants and retailers, plus 20 acres of outdoor parks and plazas.

O2 will can automatically connect registered users so shoppers, visitors, residents and workers will only need to sign up once to get online, and the service will pop up for evermore.

One very interesting fact about the deployment: O2 is going to support automatic prioritisation of voice over IP calls and video streams.

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