The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. The much-quoted Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold from 2011 to 2016, reaching 10.8 exabytes per month. In tandem, the use of Wi-Fi for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Until recently most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications. And they most certainly never considered a role for Wi-Fi in mobile networks or their business. The explosion of mobile data traffic has changed all of that. Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and should, play a significant role in reducing clogged networks and the number of unhappy customers.
Mobile operators understand that off-loading data traffic to cheaper Wi-Fi defers significant capital expenditures for further build-out of the licensed network. Operators around the world however, are asking if there is more to Wi-Fi than just data offload? Can they actually make money from Wi-Fi by turning the cost of doing business into profitable business models? Read More »