Next Generation Hotspot moves Wi-Fi to the heart of the carrier network
A quote from JR Wilson, chairman of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), sums up the new role that public Wi-Fi is taking in the lives of carriers, hotspot owners and consumers.
“The biggest change will be one that people won’t even realize has happened – a whole new customer experience enabled by ubiquitous mobile broadband access.”
One of the striking differences in the WBA’s annual report in 2013, compared to 2012, is that operators’ emphasis has shifted sharply from simple access and data offload, to customer experience and value.
This change of perception is being driven by technologies which enable public Wi-Fi to be integrated far more seamlessly with mobile and wireline networks, such as the WBA’s Next Generation Hotspot and the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Passpoint™ program, as well as open roaming platforms.
In a survey of about 200 Wi-Fi ecosystem players, conducted by Maravedis-Rethink, it was clear that such initiatives were helping create increased optimism about public Wi-Fi, with 52% feeling more confident about investing than they did a year ago. Key drivers for NGH deployment include the need to retain customers with a superior experience, as well as network efficiencies and new revenues. Almost 57% of the respondents said customer experience/retention was a very important reason to implement carrier-class Wi-Fi. However, challenges remain, notably uncertainty about ROI, cited by 44%.
Selected key findings:
- Tier one MNOs expect 22% of the capacity they add in 2013 to come from public Wi-Fi and by 2018, 75% of their small cells will have integrated Wi-Fi.
- The deployment of hotspots will gather pace to meet all these requirements, whether by carriers themselves, specialists or wholesalers. By 2018 the total installed base will reach over 55m in 2018, over half in Asia-Pacific.
- Venues will become more varied. This year’s survey predicts that shopping malls and stadiums will be the main generators of demand growth as very large-scale Wi-Fi and roaming technologies evolve. That reflects a proliferation of business models. In 2013-14, the most important monetization strategies are offload and targeted marketing, but other emerging models include community Wi-Fi, neutral host services, and, over the horizon, full quad plays and the internet of things.
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Global Trends in Public Wi-Fi – WBA Wi-Fi Industry Report, 2013 Full report November 2013 Next Generation Hotspot moves Wi-Fi to the heart of the carrier network. WBA's 2013 report on the Wi-Fi hotspot market, compiled by global research company Maravedis-Rethink, is now available. The report reveals that Tier 1 Mobile Operators expect 22% of all additional data capacity added during 2013-2014 to come from Wi-Fi offload. "This survey doesn't just show major growth ahead for public Wi-Fi deployments, but a strong focus on overall customer experience rather than just speed and convenience," said Caroline Gabriel, Research Director, Maravedis-Rethink. Download
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Global Trends in Public Wi-Fi – WBA Wi-Fi Industry Report, 2012 Full report November 2012 WBA's new survey reveals that hotspot connections are now led by smartphones (40%), followed closely by laptops (39%) and then tablets (17%) which have seen rapid growth since their recent emergence. The survey also highlights rapid deployment of NGH, which is based on Passpoint certified equipment, with 19% of operator respondents planning to deploy by the end of 2013. NGH dramatically simplifies public Wi-Fi access, especially from smartphones, by allowing secure connections without the need for usernames and passwords, and is seen as a vital tool for offloading busy mobile broadband networks. For more information, contact our press office. Download Key findings infographic, 2012 Infographic November 2012 Download our at-a-glance overview of the WBA's new Industry Report on Global Developments in Public Wi-Fi. Please feel free to distribute to the widest possible audience! Download Global Developments in Public Wi-Fi – WBA Industry Report, 2011 Full report November 2011 The paper points to unprecedented growth in Wi-Fi hotspot deployments which are predicted to rise 350% by 2015. It found that 58% of operators – including 47% of mobile operators – believe Wi-Fi hotspots are either very important or crucial to enhance their customers' experience; offload busy mobile broadband networks; and provide a value-added services platform. It found that a key factor in this deployment activity is the rise in mobile data. Global mobile data traffic is expected to reach 16.84 million terabytes by 2014 which operators plan to manage through pricing strategies followed closely by use of Wi-Fi-based offload. It also revealed that smartphone connections to hotspots will soon overtake laptops globally. Laptops now represent less than half (48%) of the connections to hotspots, with smartphones now encompassing 36% and tablets already on 10%. The paper also highlights how several barriers to further adoption and usage of public Wi-Fi are currently being addressed. These include authentication procedures, network access costs and user discovery of available networks and security. For more information, contact our press office Download Key findings infographic Infographic November 2011 Download our at-a-glance overview of the WBA's important new report on Global Developments in Public Wi-Fi. Please feel free to distribute to the widest possible audience! Download