There's reason to believe that Carrier Wi-Fi, which saw its greatest technological developments this past year, will have a promising future. ABI Research (News - Alert), a firm that provides analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity, finds that Carrier Wi-Fi is well on the road to success. Its analysts predict that by 2018, Carrier Wi-Fi access point shipments will reach 9.7 million.
Consumer expectations are helping to drive the demand, as people become increasingly used to seamless access to high data rate Wi-Fi.
The Asia-Pacific region will dominate, accounting for 70 percent of that 9.7 million forecast. The U.S is catching on, however, and by no small stretch. Cable powerhouses including Time Warner, Comcast, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, and Cox (News - Alert) already formed an alliance in the name of Cable Wi-Fi.
Any subscriber of the cable operators listed above have the ability to roam seamlessly in the some 150,000 hotspots in the U.S — that's 150,000 hotspots. It's a win-win for both the cable company and the customer. The operator gets to hold onto its business while the customer is out and about, and the customer gets to maintain connectivity through its trusted provider, should she be in a hotspot.
Mobile operators, who have traditionally profited from hotspot zones, are at a disadvantage with Carrier Wi-Fi. Integrating Wi-Fi with wireless networks isn’t the forte of mobile operators, as it’s a complicated undertaking, but that doesn't mean they aren't trying to tap into the technology.
AT&T (News - Alert), SK Telecom, and KDDI are just some of the mobile operators who aren't standing on the sidelines. These companies have already engineered Wi-Fi networks in their markets, aiming to keep their stake in the game.
These and more findings can be read in ABI's new report, “Carrier Wi-Fi Operator Activity: North America, Japan, Korea and Europe.”
Edited by Rory J. Thompson