Apple's iCloud to accelerate Wi-Fi offload

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Lynnette LunaWi-Fi's profile has jumped considerably during the last two years, but it is poised to take a significant leap thanks to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) introduction of its cloud services platform, iCloud, that stores mobile apps, documents and other information in the cloud and shares it across multiple iOS devices. The delivery mechanism for this will be Wi-Fi networks.

CCS Insight analyst John Jackson told FierceWireless that Apple must have concluded that users have access to Wi-Fi networks with sufficient regularity that the service will be broadly accessible.

That dovetails with a new survey from Devicescape which questioned 1,227 consumers about their Wi-Fi use. Devicescape, which creates software that enables devices to connect seamlessly to Wi-Fi, said 64 percent of the consumers it surveyed use Wi-Fi hotspots at least once on a daily basis. Moreover, Wi-Fi is considered a critical feature as 82 percent of those questioned expect Wi-Fi access to be part of their overall data plans.  

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), one of the last hold outs when it comes to a Wi-Fi strategy, announced last month that it will use Wi-Fi offloading techniques to handle increased data traffic on its EV-DO and LTE networks in homes as well as crowded hotspots such as hotels, airports and stadiums. It's unclear when the Wi-Fi offload service would launch or in what markets, but Verizon executives say it's an important element to its overall network strategy. No doubt it's even more important as Apple customers will now be seeking out Wi-Fi networks.

AT&T Mobility has an extensive Wi-Fi strategy with the launch of Wi-Fi hotzones-characterized as high-capacity Wi-Fi networks located in widespread city zones-- in markets such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco. It appears the operator is accelerated its hotzones.  

Thanks to Apple, which obviously didn't want to anger their operator partners by clogging their networks with synching updates, the notion of Wi-Fi hotzones is about to accelerate.--Lynnette

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