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Demand for UK Broadband Wireless Wi-Fi Hotspots to Skyrocket

Posted: 02nd Jan, 2010 By: MarkJ
wirelessWireless operator BT Openzone, which runs 4,000 public Wi-Fi Hotspots around the UK, recently revealed that it had seen traffic on its service double during 2009 and they expect more of the same in 2010. Recently Freerunner, the free wireless broadband initiative, also predicted that the country's 10,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots could rise to approximately 30,000 by 2012.

It's a prediction that appears to be supported by In-Stat analysts, which estimate that global Hotspot usage would increase in 2009 by 47% and bring total worldwide connects to 1.2 billion. Total worldwide hotspot venues have already reached approximately 245,000 locations in 2009.

Frank Dickson, In-Stat analyst, late last month said:

"A market that appeared to be languishing due to revenue shortcomings has found a renewed life force. Mobile operators have become increasingly involved in the hotspot market globally as they assess the potential of hotspots to offload wireless data traffic from overburdened 3G networks. Also, mass market adoption of Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones has significantly altered hotspot usage, with these devices accounting for the majority of access sessions in some locations.

The ubiquity of Wi-Fi has created hotspot coverage as an expected amenity at many places of business. While consumer or leisure users do not often carry a laptop, they do have Wi-Fi enabled handhelds and are using these devices to access hotspots. This, coupled with the service being bundled with mobile plans, is making hotspot access much more consumer-oriented compared to the service’s former business focus."

The falling costs of Internet access, bandwidth and equipment are also helping to push Wi-Fi out to an ever widening audience. It's worth noting that the growing popularity of Wi-Fi is also being loosely attributed by some to the weakness of 3G Mobile Broadband services.

Mobile Broadband connections may have a better reach, though the price gap has been reduced and their worsening performance over the past year certainly hasn't helped. Smartphone and mobile laptop users are demanding better performance.

Small wonder that even several of the big mobile operators ( T-Mobile and O2 ) ship some of their Mobile Broadband packages with free Wi-Fi minutes too, which they often encourage customers to use instead of their 3G connection.
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