New devices, changes in customer behaviors, and technological advances are rapidly changing the mobile market and consumers’ expectations of mobility.  A recent Cisco study of mobile consumers reveals how much, and how quickly the world of mobility is changing.  The survey uncovers some startling revelations about what consumers are doing on their mobile devices, how and where they are using them, and how they are connecting them to the Internet.  Highlights of the research are revealed in my recent blog Discover What Consumers Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile.

The majority of devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled, and the fastest-growing category is “nomadic” devices like tablets and eReaders.  We now need to speak of the “mobile home,” as the home is by far the most popular location for consumers to use their mobile devices. Surprisingly, Wi-Fi is the network connection of choice for most consumers for all of their devices.  Public Wi-Fi is now a big part of mobile life.

Consumers are generally satisfied with their public Wi-Fi experience, but they want it to be faster, more secure, better quality, and most of all, available in more places. Consumers are anxious for enhanced personal mobile experiences that can be delivered by unlocking the inherent business value hidden in the Wi-Fi infrastructure.

While it is never easy to foresee the future, we are making five predictions for key changes in the mobile industry over the next two years based on insights from the Cisco mobile consumer research:

Five Predictions for the Future

1. Mobile devices will become even more home-based.

In the next two years, daily use of mobile devices in the home will equal the use of TVs (average 5 hours)

2. Wi-Fi will become the predominant access technology for smartphones.

Within the next two years:

  • Close to 100 percent of smartphones will use Wi-Fi.
  • Smartphone owners will use Wi-Fi at least 50 percent of the time to connect to the Internet.

3. Public Wi-Fi use will continue to grow.

Within the next two years:

  • Eighty percent of all mobile consumers will use public Wi-Fi.
  • Seventy-five percent of all public Wi-Fi users will use this technology at least weekly in some locations.

4. Public Wi-Fi will be used more often, in more places.

       In the next two years, 40 to 50 percent of all public Wi-Fi users will use Wi-Fi at least weekly in restaurants, coffee shops, retail and outdoor locations.

5. Public Wi-Fi will become mainstream for delivering mobile entertainment.

In the next two years:

  • Sixty percent of public Wi-Fi users will access social media
  • Forty percent of public Wi-Fi users will stream music or video.

Full results of the survey can be found at Discover What Consumers Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile


Stuart Taylor


Service Provider Transformation Group