By Lisa Garza, Cisco Service Provider Mobility Marketing Manager
Anyone involved in burgeoning Wi-Fi hotspot network industry realizes that there has been a dearth of solid market information available. Well, that all changed this week as the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) released a joint report with Informa Global Developments in Public Wi-Fi at their 20th Roundtable and Conference in Singapore.
The research shows that almost half (47%) of mobile operators now think Wi-Fi is either very important or essential to their customers’ experience. The research also found that operators are planning a massive increase in Wi-Fi hotspot deployments – hotspots are set to rocket with a 350% increase by 2015.
The report confirms the Cisco VNI numbers, showing that mobile data is continuing its massive growth across the globe. The WBA Public Wi-Fi report predicts that mobile data traffic will hit 16.84 million terabytes by 2014. Operators are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi as a trusted extension to both fixed and mobile networks for offering their customers a seamless Internet experience.
And the report underscores the importance of the Next Generation Hotspot work that the WBA has underway. The report includes an industry survey that highlights seamless authentication, ease of network discovery and security as the most significant barriers to wider adoption of Wi-Fi. In June I wrote a blog about the WBA launch of the Next Generation Hotspot trials. This week, at the WBA 20th Conference in Singapore, we learned that the trials are well underway and are scheduled to complete on time. In fact, Shaw Communications recently announced plans to deploy Next Generation Hotspot in a trial, using Cisco’s Service Provider Wi-Fi solution.
Stay tuned to this space. The WBA intends to release this Wi-Fi Industry report on a regular basis, and 2012 promises to be the year where we’ll see these barriers fall.
Meanwhile, for those of you curious to learn more about the following, check out this webcast on What is WBA Next Generation Hotspot Anyway?:
- The future of Service Provider Wi-Fi networks
- WFA Hotspot 2.0 Specification
- WBA Next Generation Roaming Trials
- How Hotspot 2.0 will open up new revenue opportunities for service providers