Wi-Fi connections, venues continue upward trajectory, says In-Stat

The number of Wi-Fi hotspot venues worldwide is expected to grow to more than 1 million in 2013, and the number of connections made with hotspots in 2015 will reach nearly 120 billion, according to a new report from In-Stat.

The report, “Wi-Fi Hotspots: The Mobile Operator's 3G Offload Alternative,” forecasts the continuation of trend that has developed over the past several years that has seen Wi-Fi availability being used to enhance services and offer a competitive advantage.

“Wi-Fi hotspots have become a service used to attract customers to other product offerings, rather than a standalone offering,” said In-Stat senior analyst Amy Cravens. “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.”

According to the In-Stat research, mobile operators will continue to rely on Wi-Fi as a critical part of their data offload strategy.

Other findings include:

• Transportation and convention centers account for nearly 30 percent of total connects but only a small percentage of number of venues.
• Asia Pacific has emerged as the preeminent hotspot market, largely due to recent renewed investment in venue deployment.
• Notebooks continue to account for the majority of connects in the hotspot market; however, the rate of smartphone and tablet access is increasing rapidly.