Global public Wi-Fi hotspots expected to surge 350% in 4 years

The number of global public Wi-Fi hotspots are expected to increase from 1.3 million in 2011 to 5.8 million by 2015, representing a 350-percent increase, according to a new study from the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

The WBA's survey discovered that growth will primarily occur in wide-area outdoor hotzones, local-area outdoor hotzones and transport hubs such as airports. The alliance's findings also show that 47 percent of mobile operators believe that Wi-Fi hotspots are either very important or crucial to their customers' experience.

The report also highlights the fact that global mobile data traffic is expected to reach 16.84 million terabytes by 2014. Wi-Fi offload will be a large part of the planning for that growth.

In addition, the report talks of several barriers to the adoption and use of public Wi-Fi hotspots. These include difficult authentication procedures, cost of access, user discovery of available networks and security.

Hotspot 2.0 is expected to overcome many of these challenges. This new Wi-Fi standard will enable seamless roaming between Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile networks and authentication and security mechanisms that are already used in the cellular world.

The results were based on discussions with 259 public Wi-Fi experts, over half of which were from operators with a wide geographic spread representing all major continents but focused on developed markets.

For more:
- see this Cellular-News article

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Hotspot 2.0: Bringing Wi-Fi traffic into the carrier's mobile network