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World WiFi Hotspot Internet Usage to Top 120 Billion Connections by 2015

Posted: 06th Sep, 2011 By: MarkJ
wi-fiThe latest study from In-Stat has predicted that the use of public Wi-Fi Hotspots for wireless internet access will continue to "surge forward with phenomenal growth", reaching a total of 120 Billion connections by 2015, thanks to the growing support from major broadband ISPs. Worldwide hotpot venues will also increase to over 1 million in 2013.

Fixed line based Internet Service Providers (ISP) typically see the technology as both an enhancement to their existing products and a competitive differentiator (i.e. a service that their rivals don't have or can't match).

Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst at In-Stat, said:

"The hotspot market is in a continuous state of flux. Now over a decade old, the market is still undergoing significant changes in usage and business models. Wi-Fi hotspots have become a service used to attract customers to other product offerings, rather than a standalone offering. Whether the product is broadband, mobile service, or a cup of coffee, Wi-Fi is being layered on top of core offerings as a competitive differentiator."

The study certainly has plenty of practical evidence to support its conclusions. BT and O2 have been offering Wi-Fi Hotspot access alongside their UK packages for some considerable time, while Virgin Media and Sky Broadband ( BSkyB ) have both announced plans for their own related products.

Laptop computers continue to account for the majority of connections in the hotspot market, yet the rate of Smartphone (iPhone, HTC Desire etc.) and Tablet (iPad etc.) access is increasing rapidly. Mobile operators are also pleased to see Wi-Fi uptake growing because many of them eye it as part of a useful data offload strategy (Wi-Fi data is cheaper and often faster than 3G data).
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