Ops ramp WiFi deployments for data offload

By : |May 10, 2012 0

GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND: Mobile operators are firmly behind carrier WiFi as a key solution for mobile offload, even as they continue to investigate other small cell possibilities, finds market research firm Infonetics Research.

In its new Carrier WiFi Offload and Hotspot Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey, the research firm also finds that two-thirds of the service providers that Infonetics interviewed have already deployed 20,000 to over 150,000 WiFi access points (APs) in public spaces.

Richard Webb, directing analyst, microwave, mobile offload, and mobile broadband devices, Infonetics Research, said: "Our survey shows that whilst data offload is the current priority, in coming years operators will want to see a closer integration of WiFi with the mobile network so that offload becomes more intelligent, automated, and seamless. They want to utilize WiFi not only to augment mobile services, but to enhance the network itself by becoming an integrated part of the mobile network."

Street coverage is seen as one of the areas of greatest deficit for WiFi coverage; by 2013, the percentage of service providers planning to deploy WiFi for street coverage jumps to 79 per cent.

Complementing the mobile data service by enhancing throughput is currently the top deployment driver for carrier WiFi, followed by the scarcity of licensed spectrum, it adds.

Nearly all respondent carriers plan to increase the number of access points deployed by 2013, so Infonetics expects significant carrier WiFi deployment over the coming year.

Smartphones and tablets are named by mobile operators as the top mobile broadband devices driving their 2013 deployments of public WiFi networks.

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