Seamless connection to Wi-Fi on the go is the overwhelming preference of smartphone and tablet users, according to a new survey released today by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Ninety percent of those polled said they would likely stick with their current service provider if it offered the ability to connect automatically in Wi-Fi hotspots, and 72 percent said they would pay more for it. Seventy percent said they would switch providers if necessary to access this type of offering. Conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the Wi-Fi Alliance, the poll results indicate that easy-to-use Wi-Fi can drive loyalty and impact service providers' bottom line. It comes at a time when providers worldwide rely on Wi-Fi to ease exploding data demand on their networks, and consumers gravitate to it to stay connected. A new certification program from the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint, is poised to transform Wi-Fi into a true extension of service provider networks. With Passpoint, devices automatically identify and join Wi-Fi networks, and users are not required to complete a cumbersome manual login process. Passpoint also automatically configures industry-standard WPA2 security protections without user intervention. Passpoint certification for network equipment and end user devices is expected to begin in June, and is based on the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification. "We know Passpoint is going to delight our user base – people love Wi-Fi and want to connect easily everywhere they go," said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. "Passpoint also addresses the pressing service provider needs for data offload and subscriber loyalty, and Passpoint gives Wi-Fi equipment vendors a single industry-wide solution to satisfy service provider requirements." There is no question that consumers have embraced Wi-Fi, and they use it to get the most out of their favorite gadgets. In other findings from the study: When using a smartphone or tablet, 85 percent prefer to connect via Wi-Fi over cellular for at least one common online activity Eighty-three percent would do more on their device if Wi-Fi were more widely available Eighty-seven percent agreed that they want "greater Wi-Fi availability for my device" More information about Passpoint, including technical specifications, a white paper, and links to download the new Wi-Fi Alliance mobile app, is available at www.wi-fi.org. Methodological note: The Wi-Fi Alliance Passpoint Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,001 U.S. smartphone and tablet owners ages 18 and older, between April 16th and April 23rd, 2012, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners ages 18 and older. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.