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The Path to Wi-Fi Profitability

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data and placing a crushing burden on networks. One barometer is the recently released Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), which predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. The study also predicted that two-thirds of all mobile traffic will be video by 2015, and an additional 20 percent of this traffic will be devoted to both the mobile web and mobile data.

In parallel, we are witnessing a “perfect storm” in both Wi-Fi availability and customer acceptance that is resulting in a worldwide rise in the popularity of Wi-Fi. Consumers can now readily use their numerous Wi-Fi enabled devices in their homes, offices and increasingly in many of the other places where they spend their lives. Mobile users are actively searching out Wi-Fi connectivity as a cost-effective and adequate substitute or complement to mobile access to the Internet.

Based on this Wi-Fi “perfect storm” and the explosion of mobile data traffic traversing their networks, Service Providers realize that they now need to pay attention to Wi-Fi. In our conversations with SPs around the world they now recognize that that Wi-Fi is more than just data-off load and needs to be Read More »

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Making Money from Wi-Fi

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 »

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