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June 21, 2012

Carrier Wi-Fi equipment market to grow eightfold to $2.2bn by 2017: Report

Carrier Wi-Fi data traffic offloaded also set to rise by the use of more connection managers

By CBR Staff Writer

Worldwide revenue for carrier Wi-Fi access points and controllers will grow eight times from its current size to reach $2.2bn in 2017, according to ABI Research.

The report, "Carrier Wi-Fi and Mobile Offload," which examines the ecosystem and outlook for carrier Wi-Fi and mobile offload, reveals the market will reach a level equivalent to almost one-half of the traditional enterprise or SoHo Wi-Fi segments in the same period.

The report also looked at the technology and market drivers leading to carrier Wi-Fi adoption and profiled 23 companies in the market.

Carrier Wi-Fi is the Wi-Fi that is provided as a service to mobile carrier customers and owned and operated directly or indirectly by the carrier, like a third party hotspot provider.

While early market share rankings will fluctuate as traditional mobile infrastructure vendors add Wi-Fi to their portfolios, most of the market in 2011 was dominated by Cisco, Ruckus Wireless, and Ericsson/BelAir.

Nick Marshall, principal analyst, mobile networks, comments, "While carrier Wi-Fi is still in relative infancy today, the drive by mobile operators to offload data traffic is providing a significant boost to this segment of the market."

Carrier Wi-Fi rollout has been constrained until now due to the lack of standards which make the process seamless and transparent for subscribers.

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"We believe that with standardization initiatives well under way, like Hotspot 2.0 and the almost universal inclusion of Wi-Fi in every smartphone, PC, and tablet being built today, carrier controlled Wi-Fi is expected to see wide-scale adoption, especially in markets like North America, Japan, and South Korea," continued Marshall.

The carrier Wi-Fi data traffic offloaded is expected to rise by around 30% by 2017, fueled by increased use of connection managers, which seek out validated Wi-Fi access in accordance with the service provider’s policies.

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