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updated 4/3/2012 9:21:51 AM ET 2012-04-03T13:21:51

You'd think that most smartphone owners would use Wi-Fi whenever they could — a sure way to get around today's pricey and often limited data plans — but a new study reveals surprising differences between carrier customers.

For instance, nearly twice as many AT&T customers (58 percent) use both cellular and Wi-Fi for data compared with folks over at Verizon, research firm comScore said in a report yesterday (April 2). The two carriers offer nearly identical plans, but your $30 a month at AT&T will buy 3GB versus 2GB at Verizon where 68 percent of customers did not use Wi-Fi. T-Mobile showed the same majority of cell-only data users, while Sprint had the highest proportion of any carrier at 71 percent.

Sprint is the only major carrier in the U.S. to offer unlimited data on its contract plans, which could explain why most of its customers don't worry about using data on the network — they don't have to.

Indeed, comScore analysts predict that "the diminishing availability of unlimited cellular data plans will eventually push more usage to Wi-Fi."

But it seems that only AT&T customers have figured out how to fill their appetites for data without hitting their monthly limit.

Photo:  Tyler Olson

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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