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Wi-Fi: A Major “Hotspot” for Service Providers

By Tony Verspecht and Luiz Lima, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)

Growth in mobile network traffic is staggering: Driven by the onslaught of devices that are now connected to the Internet, mobile data traffic is expected to grow three times faster than fixed IP traffic, exceeding 6 exabytes per month by 2015, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index. This presents service providers (SPs) with a tremendous opportunity to invest in Wi-Fi services to create carrier-class Wi-Fi experience and increase revenues.

While specialized providers have operated commercial Wi-Fi hotspots for nearly two decades, most SPs see Wi-Fi as a fairly new business. To understand the implications of Wi-Fi on SP operations, Cisco® IBSG interviewed a number of SP executives. Following are some of the key insights, which are further discussed in “Wi-Fi for Service Providers: Challenges and Opportunities for Carrier-Class Operations”:

  • Basic Wi-Fi service coverage expansion is still the main driver—Even among established Wi-Fi SPs with a large number of hotspots, the average yearly increase in access points is 14 percent.
  • Value-added Wi-Fi services Read More »

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Profiting from the Rise of Wi-Fi

By Bill Gerhardt, Director, IBSG Service Provider

As you’ve probably noticed, mobile computing is exploding. My home has close to 10 mobile devices, and my kids want even more! According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, this insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices will double globally in 2012 and increase another 78 percent by 2014.

At the same time, Cisco IBSG is seeing a similar rise in the worldwide popularity of Wi-Fi. In fact, according to In-Stat, the number of Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to reach 2.7 million, with usage growing 200 percent, by 2014.

Given this, how can service providers—who must bear the burden of increased traffic—actually Read More »

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Profiting from the Rise of Wi-Fi

The amount of mobile data generated globally is growing very rapidly and shows no sign of abating. This growth is largely driven by smartphones, tablets and connected devices, as well as mobile applications and content.   The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) has been tracking this for quite some time – the latest update predicts that mobile data traffic will double globally in 2012 and increase by another 78 percent by 2014. 

In addition, there is a corresponding worldwide growth in the popularity of Wi-Fi. The number of Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to reach 2.7 million by 2014, with usage growing 200 percent. This growth is inspired by new enabling devices, recent technology improvements, public and private availability, and tiered mobile data plans from service providers. 

With this in mind, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has consulted with leading service providers from around the world to develop and evaluate 16 Wi-Fi business models that can provide a reasonable return on investment. Opportunities for monetization fall into four broad categories: (1) business effectiveness, (2) end-user services, (3) inter-carrier wholesale, and (4) value-added services.

For details about this and other interesting, provocative papers, go to the Service Provider Thought Leadership page of the IBSG web site.

Check it out . . .

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