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Wi-Fi Set to Carry up to 60% of Mobile Data Traffic by 2019

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A recent report predicts that Wi-Fi networks will hold almost 60% of the data traffic for mobile devices by 2019. This implies that Wi-Fi hotspots will provide four times more data than they did in 2014.

Addressing the challenges and benefits of the Wi-Fi offload

The report titled “Mobile Data Offload & Onload: Wi-Fi, Small Cell & Network Strategies 2015-2019” established that industry stakeholders stand to benefit immensely from cellular data offload. As the name suggests, offload involves transferring data from cellular networks to Wi-Fi hotspots.

Offload eliminates weak network coverage and can also introduce new services such as Wi-Fi voice calls as well as increase the utilization of the existing telecom networks.

However, the report author, Nitin Bhas, noted that offloads are hard to deploy and have uncertain returns. Offloading requires Operators to set up Wi-Fi zones in regions with patchy networks or partner with hotspot providers and aggregators such as iPass.

Moreover, most operators are forced to hand over residential customers to community hotspot operators due to the cost implications. Indeed, iPass estimates that the number of community hotspots installed in 2015 will be more than double the nearly 40 million that existed in 2014.

Other highlights from the report include:

• The data traffic generated by mobile devices will exceed 197,000PB in 2019.

• Smartphone users will consume twice the amount of data used by tablet users in 2015.

• Emerging economies will experience higher growth rates and an increase in market share for mobile data traffic in the next five years than developed countries.

• Developed economies will account for over 50% of the global cellular network offloads in 2019.

Readers can access the report titled, ‘Wi-Fi Calling Operators’, on the Juniper Research website, where it is presented in an interactive format.

Juniper Research is a research firm and consultancy that serves the telecom sector.

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